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Valeant tells boss to 'co-operate'

BBC News BBC News 11/04/2016
Valeant © Getty Images Valeant

Valeant Pharmaceuticals has called on its outgoing chief executive, Michael Pearson, to co-operate with a Senate investigation into drug pricing.

The embattled drugmaker issued the statement on Monday, after Mr Pearson failed to appear before the Senate Committee on Ageing on Wednesday.

Mr Pearson is among several pharmaceutical bosses ordered to testify about industry pricing methods.

He is scheduled to give his full testimony on 27 April.

The committee said it was considering filing contempt charges against Mr Pearson for his failure to show up for a pre-hearing deposition.

A statement from Valeant's board of directors said: "The board has requested Mr Pearson's co-operation in connection with a subpoena for deposition from the Senate Committee on Ageing prior to the committee's scheduled 27 April hearing,"

The leading members of the Senate committee, Senator Susan Collins and Senator Claire McCaskill, said Mr Pearson's testimony was "central" to the investigation.

"His actions and those of Valeant are central to the investigation pursued by this committee. Therefore, it is our intent to initiate contempt proceedings against Mr. Pearson," the senators said in a joint statement.

Valeant and other drug companies have been criticised for the practice of buying existing drugs and raising the prices. The industry has argued these price increases allow them to fund research into new drugs.

However, Valeant's focus on acquisitions rather than development has raised questions about the Canadian company's long-term viability.

Mr Pearson is set to step down as the head of Valeant as soon as a replacement can be found, the company announced in March.

Valeant is facing three separate federal investigations into its business practices and its share price has fallen over 80% in the last year.

Last week, the company reached a deal with its lenders giving the drugmaker extra time to file its annual financial report. Without that deal investors had been concerned, Valeant could default on $30bn of debt.

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