Valeant Pharmaceuticals is getting called out again for its relationship with a specialty pharmacy.
On Friday, Bloomberg News reported on one of Valeant’s drugs, a 30-year-old antidepressant called Wellbutrin XL that managed to triple in sales despite a decreasing prescription count and generic competition.
Bloomberg’s Neil Weinberg and Robert Langreth reported that this jump may have everything to do with Valeant’s relationship with specialty pharmacy Direct Success. Specialty pharmacies are usually used to handle complicated drugs for everything from autoimmune diseases to cancer drugs.
This relationship, Bloomberg reports, could be the reason why there are more branded drug prescriptions, even when there are cheaper generic alternatives available. That way, the specialty pharmacy can get a larger reimbursement from health insurers for the branded drug.
Valeant’s practice of using specialty pharmacies to distribute its drugs came into question this fall after accusations were leveled against a company called Philidor. A short-seller accused Valeant of using Philidor to inflate sales, something Valeant denied. Nevertheless, the company terminated its relationship with Philidor.
Valeant responded to the Bloomberg report Friday in an online statement, saying “Direct Success has no incentive to maximise reimbursement for Wellbutrin XL.”
The company said it has “no economic, ownership interest or rights to acquire Direct Success or any other specialty pharmacy,” a concern raised in regard to Valeant’s relationship with Philidor.
Valeant also said Direct Success accounts for less than 5% of Wellbutrin XL sales.
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