WASHINGTON — A Senate committee called off a planned meeting Wednesday to discuss contempt charges against Valeant Pharmaceuticals chief executive Michael Pearson after he agreed to give a deposition for the panel’s investigation of rising drug prices.
The Senate Aging Committee announced that it had postponed the meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, as long as Pearson shows up to give the deposition on April 18. It had threatened to bring contempt charges against him after he failed to appear for the deposition on Friday.
“The deposition has been scheduled for Monday April 18th and we look forward to hearing Mr. Pearson’s testimony,” Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, the chairwoman of the committee, and Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, the top Democrat, said in a joint statement. “This deposition and investigation are about better understanding the dramatic price increases we’re seeing for decades old prescription drugs and how those prices are affecting consumers — and we’re committed to being thorough in that pursuit.”
Pearson’s lawyer, Bruce Yannett of Debevoise & Plimpton, had said in a letter to the committee that its staff members had not given enough specifics about what Pearson would be asked about, and that he shouldn’t have to testify under those conditions. But Valeant quickly made it clear that he should give the deposition, saying in a statement Monday that the board “has requested Mr. Pearson’s cooperation” with the subpoena.
On Wednesday, a Pearson spokesman said that “following discussions between the committee’s staff and his lawyers, Mr. Pearson looks forward to testifying at a deposition and the hearing.”
Pearson is also scheduled to testify in public at an Aging Committee hearing on April 27, and his lawyer has said he will honor that commitment.