Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Monday called for Valeant Pharmaceuticals International to be subpoenaed for documents explaining recent dramatic price hikes for two heart drugs.
The request comes after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) earlier this summer sent a letter to Valeant seeking an explanation for the price increases of two recently acquired heart drugs.
The company tripled Isuprel's price to $805.61 per 2-mililiter vial and increased Nitropress's price more than six-fold, from $215 to $1,346.62 per 1-mililiter vial.
Earlier this month, Valeant refused the request, writing that "the specific documents and information referenced in [the] letter are highly proprietary and confidential." Valeant added that the drugs had been "significantly underpriced" and that the company has programs to assist patients who cannot afford the medications.
Details of subpoena request
Cummings—ranking member of the House committee—and 17 other Democrats petitioned committee Chair Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) to subpoena Valeant for the documents the company will not voluntarily provide.
The Democrats also requested that J. Michael Pearson, CEO of Valeant, and Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, appear before the committee in hearings next week.
From last week: After outrage over 5,000% price hike, Turing CEO says drug will be made more affordable
In the letter to Chaffetz, the committee Democrats wrote that both companies "appear to be engaging in the same model of acquiring potentially life-saving drugs to maximize their own corporate profits."
It is uncertain whether Chaffetz will issue the subpoena; he was not a signatory of the original document request sent to Valeant, Jonathan Rockoff reports for the Wall Street Journal.
The subpoena did lead to a reaction on Wall Street— Valeant's stock dropped 17% on Monday (Johnson, "Wonkblog," Washington Post, 9/28; Rockoff, Wall Street Journal, 9/28; Farrell, "MoneyBeat," Wall Street Journal, 9/29).
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