Valeant CEO to Give Deposition to Senate, Avoiding Contempt

  • Pearson to appear for deposition with committee on April 18
  • Panel says it will postpone vote to hold Pearson in contempt

Valeant Gets Default Notice From Creditors

Mike Pearson, chief executive officer of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., will comply with a congressional subpoena and give a deposition to a Senate committee investigating drug pricing, reversing course after previously saying he would not do so.

Pearson will give his deposition to the Senate Special Committee on Aging on April 18, ahead of an April 27 hearing in Washington where he was already scheduled to testify, the committee said in a statement Wednesday. As a result, the panel said it has postponed a vote to hold Pearson in contempt of Congress. Congressional committees often gather documents or meet privately with witnesses ahead of public hearings.

Valeant is under investigation by the committee, along with several other drugmakers, over pricing practices including acquiring and then significantly raising the list price of older medicines. The Senate probe is one of several faced by Valeant, which is also being investigated by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Drug Hearing

“This deposition and investigation are about better understanding the dramatic price increases we’re seeing for decades-old prescription drugs and how those prices are affecting consumers -- and we’re committed to being thorough in that pursuit,” said senators Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, and Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, who lead the panel.

Tom Orewyler, a spokesman for the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, which is representing Pearson, said the CEO was looking forward to testifying at the deposition and hearing. Laurie Little, a Valeant spokeswoman, said that the drugmaker “has cooperated with the committee’s inquiry from the beginning and is pleased with this outcome.”

Valeant shares were little changed at 12:02 p.m. in New York.

Pearson faced a contempt resolution by the committee after at first declining to appear for a deposition, after which Valeant’s board of directors issued a statement urging him to appear. It’s the latest twist in a wild eight-month stretch for the drugmaker, whose shares have fallen almost 90 percent from their August peak. The company has cut its guidance, said Pearson will step down, announced that it will restate some earnings, and had to overhaul its strategy, including pledging to curb price increases and changing how it distributes its products.

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