Clinton presidency looms as Valeant reports Q3 earnings

by David Keelaghan17 Oct 2016
Another week another scandal for Valeant Pharmaceuticals in what really has been an annus horribilis for the Quebec-based firm.

The latest development to drag the company’s name through the mud was data released by Truven Health Analytics revealing a 2,700% price hike over the course of a year for a lead-poisoning treatment drug.

Calcium EDTA was acquired by Valeant in 2012 after it bought U.S. firm Medicis in a US$2.6-billion deal. The drug maker then increased the price from $950 to $7,116, before further hikes brought it to an eye-watering $26,927 with a series of increases throughout 2014.

The timing of the release couldn’t have been worse for the beleaguered firm, with the upcoming Q3 earnings results set to pile on the gloom.

Valeant’s decent over the past year is acting as a cautionary tale for many in the pharmaceutical industry. It’s a business where huge price hikes have become somewhat the norm, especially in the United States, but with most polls pointing towards a Hillary Clinton presidency, that particular gravy train may soon be at an end.

Healthcare has been a cause célèbre for Clinton throughout her political career, and also a key plank of her election campaign. Should she make it to the Oval Office, there certainly won’t be many cheers emanating from the Valeant HQ in Laval.

In March, the Democratic nominee for the presidency released a campaign-ad slamming the firm for its frequent drug price hikes.

The 30-second ad, titled “Predatory,” featured Clinton at a town hall in January where she described an attendee’s experience with steep Valeant price increases. The old adage of there is no such thing as bad publicity certainly didn’t ring through in this case, and Valeant’s shares went in the opposite direction as its drug prices – through the floor. 

The firm’s stock performance had already gone off a cliff at that stage, but Clinton’s promise of “I’m going after them,” certainly didn’t help matters.

In fact, Valeant’s shares have fallen from $232 this time last year to $22 at close on Friday, a drop of 78.18%. Having recovered somewhat in the summer to record a year-high of $31 in August, the dark clouds have returned with a vengeance. With the company currently $31-billion in debt, The Street will be keeping a close eye on the firm's Q3 earnings report.

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