Valeant reports loss and cuts profit forecast

Valeant sign Image copyright AP

Embattled drugmaker Valeant has reported a first-quarter loss and cut its full-year profit forecast.

Shares in the Canadian firm, which has been investigated over its business and accounting practices, sank 14% in pre-market trading.

Valeant posted a loss of $373.7m for the first three months of 2016, against a profit of $97.7m a year earlier.

The company's new chief executive Joseph Papa said it had been a "difficult" period for the company.

It now expects full-year earnings per share of $6.60-$7, compared with its previous estimate of $8.50-$9.50.

"The first quarter's results reflect, in part, the impact of significant disruption this organisation has faced over the past nine months," said Mr Papa, in a statement.

"This has been a difficult period for Valeant and its stakeholders, and while there are some challenges to work through in certain business operations in 2016, such as our US dermatology unit, the majority of our businesses are performing according to expectations."

Sales at Valeant's dermatology business sank 43% to $228.6m in the first quarter.

'Making progress'

Mr Papa took over from Valeant's previous head, Michael Pearson, in May.

Last week, it emerged that Mr Pearson would receive $9m (£6.2m) in severance payments along with thousands of dollars in consulting fees.

Valeant came in for criticism for buying older drugs and raising the prices without investing in research and development of new drugs.

Earlier this year, the company's financial results for 2015 were delayed while Valeant's board looked into its accounting practices.

"We have made progress toward stabilising the organisation over the past few months, and we expect to file our financial results in a timely manner going forward," Mr Papa said.

Shares in the company have fallen by nearly 90% over the past year.

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