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Internal memo shows drug profiteer’s company feared ‘sensitive’ HIV/AIDS activists

Valeant used patient assistance programs to distract attention and justify its price hikes, the memo noted. It cited correspondence from Valeant marketing executive Jeff Strauss, who reviewed a company response to a customer who complained about price increases. Strauss noted that Valeant was providing the drug to patients at a minimal cost of no more than $25 for a 30-day supply.

“Kind of hard to paint us as greedy if we have removed financial barriers for patients,” Strauss wrote.

When asked about the congressional report, Valeant said it expected that its future growth will be driven more by sales volume than pricing. The drugmaker said it now offers a 30-percent, volume-based discount on the prices of Nitropress and Isuprel. It didn’t say how much customers had to buy to trigger the discount.

It also is offering discounts on some drugs through a distribution agreement it entered with the drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.

On Thursday, the House Committee is scheduled to hear testimony from Turing’s chief commercial officer, Nancy Retzlaff and Valeant Pharmaceutical’s interim CEO, Howard Schiller. Schiller was appointed to the position last month after Pearson was hospitalized with severe pneumonia.

Shkreli said in a television interview Tuesday that he plans to take the Fifth Amendment to avoid answering questions at the hearing, but added he’d like to “berate” and “insult” lawmakers.

The 32-year-old former hedge fund manager was recently charged with of securities fraud and conspiracy related to another pharmaceutical company he ran before founding Turing.

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