Hillary Clinton accuses Canadian drugmaker Valeant of 'predatory pricing'
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. on Feb. 29, 2016. (Molly Riley / AP Photo)
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, March 1, 2016 6:39PM EST
Hillary Clinton has stepped up her battle against predatory drug pricing in her bid to become the next U.S. president -- and she is setting her sights on Valeant Pharmaceuticals.
In a new campaign ad on her YouTube page, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination vows to go after the Quebec-based drugmaker.
Valeant has been accused of gouging patients on drug costs -- allegations it has denied.
The ad posted Monday cites the case of a woman who has been taking a brand name medication since the 1980s that, at one time, it says cost about $180 for 10 shots.
The name of the medication is not disclosed in the ad, which appears to have been filmed at a town hall-type campaign stop in January.
The ad shows Clinton waving a letter and saying the cost of the woman's latest refill has shot up to $14,700 for the same 10 vials.
"The company is called Valeant Pharmaceuticals. I am going after them," Clinton tells the meeting to a round of applause.
"This is predatory pricing and we're going to make sure it is stopped."
Valeant said after it became aware of the patient's story in January, it contacted her to determine whether it could help cover the costs of the medication as part of a patient assistance program.
"She informed us that her insurance provider covers the drug, so it is not a significant out-of-pocket expenditure for her," Valeant said in a statement Tuesday.
Valeant also said there has been a generic version of the drug available since 2003 and that its share of the overall market for the medication has declined to less than one per cent.
"Whenever the sales volume of a drug declines, manufacturers must consider pricing adjustments to keep production of the drug viable," Valeant said. "Patients are able to choose generic versions of the drug, however, at significantly lower prices."
The company, one of several companies under investigation as the U.S. Congress looks at price increases for certain specialty drugs, has seen its share price plummet to well under $100 from above $346 last summer. On Tuesday, the stock fell $6.55 to settle at $87.94 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.