Medical experts to discuss toll of Valeant, Turing drug cost spikes

WASHINGTON Dec 9 A pediatric medical professional in Alabama had to scramble to find a less pricey supply of a lifesaving drug to treat an infant who was suffering from a parasitic infection.

In Utah, a hospital has been forced to change the way it stocks a drug essential to treating sufferers with heart circumstances following the price sky-rocketed from $ 440 to $ two,700 a vial.

These are just two of the stories that a U.S. Senate panel will hear on Wednesday at a hearing that will discover why certain off-patent prescriptions produced by companies like Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Turing Pharmaceuticals have shot up right after they acquired the rights to sell the drugs.

The U.S. Senate’s Special Committee on Aging announced last month it was launching an investigation into drug pricing and the part that mergers and acquisitions may possibly be playing in value hikes.

The committee is reviewing price tag increases for Valeant’s two heart drugs Isuprel and Nitropress, as well as Turing’s price improve on Daraprim, a drug utilized to treat a illness referred to as toxoplasmosis that impacts AIDS patients and pregnant girls.

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, the panel’s ranking Democrat, stated in prepared remarks that she wants to make certain businesses are not taking benefit of the technique by in search of “deep profits whilst contributing little or nothing to advances in medical treatment.”

Drug pricing has come under wider scrutiny in the last few months, not only from U.S. lawmakers, but also from U.S. prosecutors and Democratic presidential candidates.

Valeant is facing probes from U.S. prosecutors more than costs, distribution and prescription assistance applications, even though Turing is below investigation by the New York state attorney basic for antitrust concerns. The improved scrutiny over higher U.S. drug costs has also taken a toll on the industry’s stocks.

Wednesday is the initial in what is anticipated to be a series of hearings on drug price tag spikes.

The committee asked each firms to turn over documents for the investigation by Dec. two, and the chief executives may be named to testify at a future date.

Congress is nearing the finish of its session for the year, and will resume holding hearings on the subject in 2016.

Valeant stated it was cooperating with the committee, like supplying requested documents.

“Valeant markets a lot more than 200 prescription drugs … so broad conclusions about the company’s pricing can’t be drawn from any 1 drug or set of drugs,” spokeswoman Laurie Tiny stated in an emailed statement.

Turing did not quickly respond to a request for comment.

Wednesday’s hearing was to function health-related experts who would testify about the influence of drug cost increases.

Erin Fox, a director at the University of Utah Wellness Care, said in prepared remarks that the hospital is struggling to cope with Valeant’s drug value increases.

“If we continued to obtain the very same quantity of each and every drug, it would expense our organization just over $ 1.6 million more for isoproterenol and around $ 290,000 much more for nitroprusside compared to what we paid the earlier year,” Fox said. Both drugs are utilized to treat heart circumstances.

David Kimberlin, a pediatric infectious illness medical doctor in Alabama, will also go over the challenges he has faced soon after the cost of Daraprim rose from $ 13.50 a pill to $ 750 and how it is now only offered at Walgreens specialty pharmacies.

“Our pharmacy can’t obtain the drug from the Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy due to restrictions in the sale of medicines from one particular pharmacy to yet another,” he mentioned. (Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch in Washington extra reporting by Bill Berkrot in New York)