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Monday, March 14, 2016
Leonore Gordon, LCSW
130 8th Avenue #3A
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 783 1986
(347) 489 9123
Re: a personal plea to Valeant Pharmaceutical
Dear CEO Pearson and members of Valeant’s Board of Directors;
First, I hope you are feeling better after your long bout with pneumonia, Mr. Pearson.
I am a 60-year woman with 16 years of Parkinson’s, receiving Social Security Disability, who cannot afford to pay for one of your products, Tasmar, which I very much need, as it really helps my other Parkinson’s meds to kick in. Because of Tasmar, I can walk, be independent, exercise, dance, lead my Parkinson’s support group, and participate in the other activities that help me get through the day. A few weeks ago, my Rite Aid pharmacist called me in consternation to ask if I knew the 2016 price for Tasmar? She went on to inform me that it would cost me $2,259.00 for a one-month supply of 45 pills. I was flabbergasted!!!!!
What kind of human being puts a price like that on any medicine? And with what justification?? Is it made on Mars? Who on earth can afford that?
Last year Tasmar cost an equally unaffordable $1800.00, (quite a price hike!) but I got lucky when a friend gave me a bottle of her Tasmar because she no longer could take it.
Nor can I afford Tasmar’s generic, Tolcapone, costing me $1800.00 for the same number of pills. Tolcapone is a product made by Oceanside Pharmaceutical, owned by Valeant. The price is the same for Par Pharmaceutical’s version of Tolcapone.
Furthermore, Valeant’s purported Patient Assistance program for Tasmar excludes those of us who receive Medicare Part D, which I grimly read as I got to the bottom of page 2 of your application form. Do you really believe we in those excluded categories can afford 2259.00 for a bottle of pills?
Like so many in the US and Canada, I can’t take this medication I need because I can’t afford it. No one in my world has either $1800.00 or $1500.00 set aside for a needed vial of pills for one month. Perhaps that price feels reasonable to you and members of your board, but not in my world. When I researched Valeant on the Internet, seeking a Patient Assistance program, I stumbled on innumerable news reports that Valeant is actively under fire for its unethical, inhumane arbitrary price hikes from multiple arenas, including by the
Congressional committee on Accountability and Government Reform. I watched the Feb.4th hearings online the other day, as the bi-partisan committee interviewed your temporary replacement, Mr. Schiller. I was intrigued to see him promise to make a quick phone call to the NIH after being told they couldn’t afford to include one of your heart medications, promising to correct that problem.
If Public Relations and “image” was important enough to your company that you dropped the prices of two of your heart drugs after being scolded by a Congressional Committee, why not do a huge turn-around and announce a Public Relations campaign to drop the prices on all of your pharmaceutical products so that people like me, my friends, and millions of others can afford the medicines we need? And I don’t mean a PR campaign like your already existing “Patient Assistance Program” which, as I referred to earlier, excludes people receiving Medicare Part D, veterans receiving Veterans’ Assistance, and others on HMO’s. In a news article, I read the memo written by Valeant marketing executive Jeff Strauss, referring to this Patient Assistance initiative, justifying your inhumane drug costs, by saying "These patients are not profitable for Valeant, therefore the price increases offset the costs associated with supporting this initiative... Kind of hard to paint us as greedy if we have removed financial barriers for patients." This does not look good to your investors, Congress, or the public.
Last week, someone sent me a link to Hillary Clinton’s new tv ad targeting Valeant’s price-hiking as “predatory.” I know your stock value dropped dramatically since being investigated, and since Clinton’s commercial aired, but before you drop the Neurology unit of your company, or your pharmaceutical component, why not seriously go public with repentant new policies dropping all of your drug prices to humane ones your child’s teacher can afford, and apologizing for your “depraved indifference” to us regular people out there, and thus distinguish yourselves from the arrogance of Turing’s Shkreli, who truly is a villain? Mr. Pearson, perhaps you could say you had an epiphany while lying ill, especially after seeing your drug costs?
Please do something soon, as I really need my medication, and I’m not alone. I will be cc’ing this letter to the NY Times, the Wall Street Journal, and several other news outlets. Thank you.
Leonore Gordon, LCSW
- ▼ 2016 (13)