Trending News Today: Valeant Reconsiders Drug Cost Increases

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After Valeant Pharmaceuticals purchased the cardiac drug Nitropress in February 2015, the company tripled the cost, reported The Wall Street Journal. Back in early 2015, top leaders of Valeant met to set prices on the drug, with some executives suggesting slow and staggered price increases for the new drug, according to the report. However, Chief Executive Michael Pearson argued for a single, sharp increase so that Valeant could reach its internal profit targets. A document that recounted the exchange found that Pearson played a key role in the aggressive price increases on acquired drugs in recent years. This caused a widespread backlash, leading Pearson to sit in front of a Senate investigative panel last week, where he admitted that Valeant was too aggressive in the drug cost increases. “We heard very clearly the concerns raised by the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and the board is working to map out a new path for the company going forward,” Valeant spokeswoman Laurie Little said in the report. “That will include consideration both of how best to set drug prices and of the appropriate role of patient assistance programs in helping to ensure that patients can obtain the drugs that doctors prescribe for them.”

Start-up company Guardant Health has become a leading contender in working on liquid biopsy tests that can determine if an individual has cancer from a single blood draw. According to The Washington Post, Venture investors have backed the company with nearly $200 million and leading medical centers are currently testing the new technology. Furthermore, data presented earlier this month showed promise for the screening tool on an initial group of 10,000 patients with late-stage cancers. However, the current barrier Guardant is facing is that they have yet to gain approval from the FDA. “It’s the patient at the end of the day who is the person we’re trying to help,” said Guardant Health Founder, Helmy Eltoukhy. “We’re not doing them any justice or any benefits by putting a technology that’s not ready for prime time into the market.”

Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc received FDA approval for Nuplazid, a drug used to treat psychotic delusions and behaviors that affects about half of all Parkinson’s disease patients, The Washington Post reported. Nuplazid is the first drug approved for this condition and is part of the antipsychotic family of medications.