Valeant, Turing Focused on Profit First, Congress Says

By:  Anna Edney

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. and Turing Pharmaceuticals AG, both under congressional investigation over drug price increases, were focused on making money before helping patients, members of Congress said internal documents obtained from the companies show.

“$1 bn here we come,” former Turing chief executive officer Martin Shkreli said in an e-mail to the chairman of Turing’s board of directors on May 27, after the company had made progress toward acquiring Daraprim, according to a memo from House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Democrats led by Representative Elijah Cummings from Maryland. After acquiring the antiparasitic drug later that year, Turing raised the price by more than 50-fold, to $750 a pill.

Committee Democrats had requested documents from both Turing and Valeant and summarized the more than 300,000 pages they received, including e-mails, corporate projections and analysis on revenues and profits.

Valeant and Turing didn’t immediately respond to e-mails asking for comment.

The documents “confirm what Americans across the country have experienced firsthand for years -- that many drug companies are lining their pockets at the expense of some of the most vulnerable families in our nation,” Cummings said in a statement. “The documents show that these tactics are not limited to a few ‘bad apples,’ but are prominent throughout the industry.”

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