- Associated Press - Monday, September 28, 2015

Congressional Democrats are pressing a Republican committee chairman to force a pharmaceutical company to turn over documents tied to price hikes imposed earlier this year.

Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sent a letter Monday to Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, asking him to issue a subpoena to Valeant Pharmaceuticals and to invite the Canadian company to testify next week.

Valeant shares tumbled more than 15 percent Monday afternoon.

Prescription drug price hikes have come under growing scrutiny for months. The focus intensified after The New York Times reported that the startup Turing Pharmaceuticals acquired the rights to a treatment for a rare parasitic infection that mainly strikes pregnant women and raised the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill.

That drew criticism from patients, industry groups and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, among others. Turing’s CEO, former hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli, said later that the price of the drug, Daraprim, would be reduced.

The Democrats drew comparisons in their letter between Valeant and Shkreli over Valeant’s purchase of congestive heart failure treatment Nitropress and another heart drug, Isuprel. They said Valeant tripled the price of Nitropress and raised the price of Isuprel more than fivefold.

A representative of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. did not immediately return a call seeking comment Monday.

The Democrats requested that both Shkreli and Valeant CEO Michael Pearson be invited to testify before the committee next week.

U.S.-traded shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. sank 15.6 percent, or $31.20, to $168.37 in afternoon trading Monday.


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