Former Turing Pharma CEO Martin Shkreli, and Valeant Pharmaceutical’s interim CEO Howard Schiller are expected to participate in a Congressional hearing on pharmaceutical pricing set for January 26. The house committee has subpoenaed Shkreli, and expects both Turing and Valeant to provide documentation regarding their drug pricing policies.
Both companies faced public backlash last year – Valeant increased the price of the heart drugs Nitropess and Isuprel, and Turing did the same with the antiparasitic drug Daraprim. Schiller is currently acting as interim CEO of Valeant, while the company’s chief executive, J. Michael Pearson is on medical leave with pneumonia.
While it’s uncertain whether Shkreli will comply with the subpoena, Valeant’s Schiller is reportedly eager to testify in order to begin the process of rebuilding the company’s public image. During last week’s J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, the interim CEO has vowed to change the company’s pricing policies in order to make their pharmaceuticals more affordable for patients.
“We will be relentlessly focused on providing easy and affordable access for physicians and patients,” said Schiller. He also disclosed that the company would place more emphasis on R&D in 2016.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking member Representative Elijah Cummins has been after Turing and Valeant for more than a year, and is reportedly happy that both political parties are in favour of a drug pricing investigation. According to Cummins, Americans are “fed up with watching major drug companies rake in record profits while they continue to struggle to afford their medicines.”
Martin Shkreli made waves last year when his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, acquired the toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim and subsequently hiked up the price by over 5,000 percent. He has since stepped down as CEO of the company amid charges of securities fraud at his former hedge fund, MSMB Capital Management.