Valeant drops Philidor after prescription fraud row

Valeant has announced that it is ‘severing all ties with Philidor’, the specialty pharmacy at the heart of recent controversy surrounding the company, after allegations emerged that Philidor modified doctors’ prescriptions in order to boost reimbursements from insurers for the Canada-based company.

Bloomberg reported that former employees of the pharmacy, and an internal document, reveal workers were given written instructions to alter prescription codes from doctors to specify Valeant-branded drugs over generics.

The Philidor document obtained by Bloomberg is said to have included a step-by-step guide on procedure for dealing with prescriptions for Valeant dermatological creams and gels including Retin-A Micro and Vanos, as well as instructions for changing the Dispense as Written (DAW) indication for cash-paying patients.

DAWs are generally used to specify that the branded version of a drug is dispensed, as opposed to the usually-cheaper generic version.

Valeant, which moved to clarify its relationship with Philidore during an investor conference call, responded to the new claims this morning: with company CEO J. Michael Pearson saying: “The newest allegations about activities at Philidor raise additional questions about the company’s business practices. We have lost confidence in Philidor’s ability to continue to operate in a manner that is acceptable to Valeant and the patients and doctors we serve.”

“We understand that patients, doctors and business partners have been disturbed by the reports of improper behaviour at Philidor, just as we have been. We know the allegations have also led them to question Valeant and our integrity, and for that I take complete responsibility. Operating honestly and ethically is our first priority, and you have my absolute commitment that we will make it right.”

Valeant revealed on Monday that it has a ten-year right to purchase Philidore: one which it will no longer exercise.

Valeant said it will “develop a plan to ensure patients’ access to drugs is minimally disrupted,” following the termination of its relation with Philidor, and that to the extent that managed care plans will no longer reimburse prescriptions in process, Valeant will fill them at its own expense.


Joel Levy

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