The bad press for Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., which is under multiple investigations, including by the Securities and Exchange Commission, took a turn for the worse Super Tuesday when Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton unveiled a new ad specifically targeting the company ahead of a slew of primary votes for presidential nominees.
“I’m going after them,” Clinton, standing before a crowd, says after she reads from a letter describing how the cost of one patient's brand-name medicine had risen from $180 for 10 shots in the 1980s to $14,700 today. “The company is called Valeant Pharmaceuticals,” Clinton proclaims in the 30-second ad. “This is predatory pricing, and we're going to make sure it is stopped.”
Valeant stock fell Tuesday to less than $61 a share, continuing a plunge that has seen prices fall by more than 75 percent since the summer. Its share price dropped 18 percent Monday after the company disclosed that it had received a subpoena from the SEC in the fourth quarter of 2015, separate from an investigation into its purchase of Salix Pharmaceuticals in 2015.
The company is also under investigation by two U.S. attorneys and Congress, and faces accusations of using Philidor Rx Services, a specialty pharmacy service, to inflate its revenue. Lawmakers have slammed Valeant specifically for profiteering and jacking up drug prices.
According to the Clinton campaign, the new ad is slated to air Tuesday in Nebraska, Kansas and Michigan. All of those states have caucuses or primaries in the next week.
A previous ad for the Clinton campaign, released in November, broadly targeted insurance companies and vowed to bring down the price of drugs in the United States. Clinton's platform for lowering these costs included “demanding that drug companies invest in R&D in exchange for taxpayer support.”
After Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of Daraprim, a drug to treat the rare infection toxoplasmosis, from $13.50 a pill to $750, Clinton took to Twitter to slam “price gouging ... in the specialty drug market” as “outrageous.”