- Outgoing executive appeared in D.C. ahead of April 27 hearing
- Senate, House have been investigating drug pricing practices
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. outgoing Chief Executive Officer Mike Pearson was deposed for at least nine hours on Monday by a Senate committee that’s investigating his company’s drug pricing practices, ahead of a public hearing later this month.
Pearson was led into a meeting room in the Dirksen Senate office building at about 10 a.m. Monday in Washington, complying with a congressional subpoena. During breaks and after the session ended at around 7 p.m. that evening, he declined to comment. Valeant has said it’s cooperating with the inquiry.
Valeant, along with three other drugmakers, is under investigation by the Senate Special Committee on Aging. The committee is probing practices including acquiring and then significantly raising the list price of older medicines. The embattled drugmaker, which is also under scrutiny for its accounting and has delayed filing its annual report, said last month Pearson would leave after a successor is found.
Pearson had failed to appear for a deposition on April 9 after his lawyer called the subpoena unfair, and later agreed to appear after the committee threatened to start contempt proceedings against him. Pearson is scheduled to testify in public at a hearing scheduled by the committee for April 27.
At a February hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Howard Schiller, then Valeant’s acting CEO, testified while Pearson was on long-term medical leave. Both panels asked the company to provide internal documents relating to their pricing practices.
The drugmaker has suffered multiple setbacks in recent months. Last year, the company cut ties with a mail-order pharmacy, Philidor Rx Services, after questions arose about the pharmacy’s business practices. Then, in February, Valeant said it would restate some results from 2014 and 2015 related to Philidor. In March, the company cut its forecast, delayed filing its annual report, and said Pearson will step down once a replacement is found. The stock is down almost 90 percent since its August peak.