Democrats take aim at drug prices, prompting sharp drops in biotech stocks

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 28, 2015 1:58 PM

(Reuters) - All 18 Democratic members of a U.S. House of Representatives committee on Monday urged their chairman to subpoena Canada's Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc to force it to provide documents related to "massive" price increases for two of its heart drugs.

Valeant <VRX.TO> <VRX.N> shares fell more than 13 percent in afternoon trading amid a 6 percent decline for the biotech sector. Shares of many pharmaceutical companies have fallen sharply in the past week, after Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton blasted big increases in drug prices.

The members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform also requested that Chairman Jason Chaffetz, a Republican, invite Valeant Chief Executive Officer Michael Pearson to testify at a hearing next week.

That meeting was called to hear testimony from the CEO of privately held Turing Pharmaceuticals, whose own company has been widely criticized for a more than 5,000 percent increase in the price of its Daraprim treatment for a dangerous parasitic infection.

(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)