Valeant offers discounts for two heart drugs under scrutiny in U.S.

MONTREAL – Valeant Pharmaceuticals is offering rebates on the price of two heart drugs that have come under scrutiny by the U.S. Congress.

The Quebec-based company said Monday that effective immediately all U.S. hospitals will be eligible for rebates of between 10 and 40 per cent based on volumes purchased for Nitropress and Isuprel.

Valeant (TSX:VRX), which tripled the price for one drug and increased the other six-fold after acquiring them from Marathon Pharmaceuticals in 2015, said no further prices increases for the drugs are planned.

No action was announced for two other drugs investigated by the Senate — Syprine and Cuprimine — used to treat rare genetic disorder Wilson’s disease. The 30-year-old drug, Syprine, was acquired by Valeant in 2010 and has since seen its price increased more than 3,000 per cent.

Valeant board member Bill Ackman, a major shareholder with Pershing Square Capital, told a Senate committee late last month that he would urge the board to offer discounts on four drugs to address the company’s aggressive pricing practices.

The ranking Democrat on a House committee that also conducted hearings called the changes a “small step in the right direction.”

“Slightly trimming their massive price increases now still forces our nation’s hospitals to pay millions of dollars more each year,” Rep. Elijah Cummings said in a news release.

The price changes announced Monday were recommended by a internal committee of Valeant employees, including doctors, scientists and executives.

New chairman and CEO Joseph Papa said under a new program previously implemented discounts for the drugs will be “simplified and more accessible.”