Valeant responds to drug price concerns with cuts

December 16, 2015

Valeant Pharmaceuticals just entered into a new fulfillment agreement with Walgreens and says it will reduce prices of its branded prescription-based dermatological and ophthalmological products such as Jublia by 10 percent.

With all the Congressional and public criticism on drug pricing, some drug manufacturers are going out of their way to explain or reduce the cost of their medications.

Related: Valeant CEO says drug pricing may drop

Along that vein, Valeant Pharmaceuticals just entered into a new fulfillment agreement with Walgreens and says it will reduce prices of its branded prescription-based dermatological and ophthalmological products such as Jublia by 10%. The reduced wholesale list pricing of the products will be phased in over the next six to nine months.

Related:Specialty pharmacy to close over Valeant pricing flap

"We have listened to what the marketplace is saying and we've taken positive steps to respond. We are pleased to announce both a strategic fulfillment agreement with Walgreens, as well as a new agreement to offer innovator products at generic prices, which is good for consumers, good for physicians and good for the healthcare system," said J. Michael Pearson, chairman and CEO of Valeant.

Valeant expects the price decreases across both programs, when fully implemented, will provide up to $600 million in annual savings to the healthcare system.

The 20-year agreement with Walgreens will initially cover Valeant's dermatology products – including Jublia, Luzu, Solodyn, Retin-A Micro Gel 0.08%, Onexton and Acanya Gel – and ophthalmology products – including Besivance, Lotemax, Alrex, Prolensa , Bepreve and Zylet. Valeant and Walgreens hope to expand the relationship to include other therapeutic areas over time.

Under the agreement, patients with commercial insurance can benefit from lower out-of-pocket costs, such as reduced copays – as low as zero for some products initially. However, “Because of government regulation, the cost sharing program will not be applicable to patients with government insurance,” according to a Valeant statement.

Walgreens and Valeant also have entered into a separate agreement under which Valeant will distribute more than 30 branded products, where generics are available, in the dermatology, ophthalmology, gastrointestinal and neurology/other therapeutic areas through Walgreens at generic prices, giving doctors the ability to make the branded product available to patients at generic prices.

The reduced pricing for the branded products, which will be available to all patients beginning the second half of 2016, is expected to range from 5% to 95%, or a weighted average price decrease of more than 50%. The agreement covers such products as Aldara, Tiazac, and Glumetza. “This program will be available to all patients, including those with government coverage,” Valeant said.

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