Valeant chief hospitalised for 'severe' pneumonia

Pearson (above) has faced a challenging few months with the Canadian drug maker.
Pearson (above) has faced a challenging few months with the Canadian drug maker.PHOTO: REUTERS

MONTREAL (AFP) - The chief executive of embattled Canadian pharmaceutical company Valeant, J. Michael Pearson, has been admitted to hospital for "severe" pneumonia, a spokeswoman said Friday.

"Mike Pearson was recently admitted to the hospital and is receiving treatment for a severe case of pneumonia," spokeswoman Laurie Little said by email, without providing further details about his condition.

"We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to him returning to work when he is feeling better," Little added.

It has been a challenging few months for the Canadian drug maker, which has been the target of concerns over its pricing and distribution policies. Valeant has rejected all accusation that it has engaged in deceptive business practices.

In October, Valeant Pharmaceuticals said it was cutting ties with mail-order pharmacy Philidor RX, following a furor over their relationship.

Valeant had nurtured Philidor in its infancy when it sold only two Valeant acne drugs by mail order. The two signed a deal last year that effectively gave Valeant limited control over Philidor as a distribution channel for its drugs, and an option to buy the pharmacy.

The partnership saw Philidor aggressively market Valeant's more expensive drugs over cheaper generics preferred by insurers, which caught the attention of US lawmakers and investigators now looking into its pricing.

Earlier this month, Valeant announced a drug distribution deal with pharmacy giant Walgreens that will lower prices of many medications by 10 percent in the United States.

The deal applies to Valeant's branded dermatology and ophthalmology prescription drugs, including the high-selling Jublia treatment for toe fungus.