Valeant Pharmaceuticals: The Great Wellbutrin Channel Mystery

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With Valeant Pharmaceuticals’ evolution from battleground stock to full-bore Wall Street circus, it is easy to forget that underneath the competing valuation narratives and regulatory drama is a real operating company.

The odd thing is that down at the operating level — where drugs are made, shipped to market and sold — things don’t get very much clearer.

One of Valeant’s more enduring riddles is the continued vitality of Wellbutrin XL, a drug that has been off patent since 2006. A January Bloomberg News article ably laid out Valeant’s strategy of constantly raising prices on the drug — 11 times since 2014 — that underscores how revenue jumped.

But looking at Wellbutrin XL’s prescription count data from the second and third quarters last year — specifically the reported revenues — some unanswered questions remain.

For instance, the third-quarter Wellbutrin XL prescription data captured by Sources: Bloomberg and SEC filings Sources: Bloomberg and SEC filings[/caption]


On Friday afternoon the Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation submitted questions via email to Valeant outside spokeswoman Renee Soto of Sard Verbinnen & Co. She did not reply by press time.

10 thoughts on “Valeant Pharmaceuticals: The Great Wellbutrin Channel Mystery

  1. Whats you take on all the other drugs? Wellbutrin XL accounts fro $92M of sales which if you restate to 0$ is maybe 1% of on 8,263.5M of Revenue. I dont get the huge concern. I suppose one could argue where there’s smoke there’s fire..but you have to pick a more juicy target than 1% of revenue.

  2. The answer is simple, those of us who suffer from depression and used Wellbutrin before generics were available found that when we switched to generics our symptoms returned. The generics do not work and to get relief from our symptoms we must use the name brand.

  3. Yes, I agree with you about the Wellbutrin vs. Generic Wellbutrin. I am on Medicare and my Medicare Part D plan that I have does not pay for the Brand name Wellbutrin.

  4. Agree with above comment. Generic Wellbutrin is crap and we should be able to have the choice between generic and brand name. I don’t even mind paying more out of pocket.

  5. I am Medicare and Medicaid with extra help, and can not believe the greed of these companies with this medication especially! I can’t even find a pharmacy to fill it because they lose money! This is out of control in this country! Especially when most of the meds are actually coming from almost unregulated factories in other countries! I have many drug sensitivities, and all that matters is the cheapest the pharmacy can get from wherever! Making us sick or not working at all! This government and f da need to stop this price gouging kickback, ignoring and not regulating the prices or even what is in these pills! It’s prosperous! And needs to CHANGE!

  6. I have taken Wellbutrin when there was no xl formulation. I’ve attempted to only take Brand as Pharmacy messed up and ordered Generic. After two month, I do a self assessment and I was getting depressed. I have ADHD, age 56, female, but Wellbutrin Brand has only worked! I was prescribed 300 xl in January 2018, and have determined I do better on the 150xl 2x daily. I would recommend if at all possible getting the Brand Wellbutrin, Your older person who Has been there and swear by Brand! Hope everyone is doing well

  7. Brand Wellbutrin XL cash price for a 90 day supply is over $5,000. You think the government would do something about these pharmaceutical companies charging an outrageous price. I have to take the Brand, which I have been taking for 20 years. Tried numerous generics and it didn’t work. My insurance does not cover the brand drug.

  8. Ask your doctor to fill out form for an exception form that you must use name brand. You can then get it from Medicare D at a reduced rate.

  9. I am suicidal, losing my vision… all because I cannot afford the BRAND Wellbutrin XL that I have been taking for over 10 years. The BRAND Wellbutrin XL from Canada is not the same and the side effects are worse than the depression I originally started with and now I’m like an addict looking for any way to get back onto the USA BRAND.

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