Valeant promises to reduce the prices of two heart drugs

Valeant Pharmaceuticals announced on May 16 that it would reduce the price of two heart drugs by as much as 40 percent.

The program will decrease the price of Nitropress and Isuprel, two of Valeant’s medications. Effective immediately, all hospitals are eligible for a rebate of at least 10 percent, which could increase up to 40 percent based on the volumes of the drugs that hospitals purchase.

Valeant’s policies and business practices have received criticism since last year when the company bought the rights to Nitropress and Isuprel and increased their list prices by 525 percent and 212 percent, respectively.

In March, Valeant announced that CEO Michael Pearson would leave the company but would stay on board until his replacement was hired. Valeant hired Joseph C. Papa as CEO on April 25.

Pearson testified at a Senate hearing on drug pricing in late April. On May 11, the New York Times reported that Valeant had not given top hospitals price breaks as the company had promised during the Senate hearing.   

Despite the May 16 announcement, Erin R. Fox, the pharmacist who negotiates drug prices for the University of Utah Health Care System, told the New York Times that she was still skeptical. She told the newspaper that she had contacted Valeant since last fall seeking discounts for Nitropress and Isuprel.

“A press release stating they will offer discounts is one thing — but Valeant did the same thing the last time they said they had discounts, and nothing ever materialized,” Fox said.

Valeant said most hospitals would receive the discounts through their group purchasing organization. If hospitals don’t purchase drugs through a GPO, they can contact Valeant’s customer service department, according to the news release.