Valeant CEO Pearson to return to work after long illness

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Valeant Pharmaceuticals says its CEO, J. Michael Pearson, will be returning to work after recovering from severe pneumonia.

Pearson had taken medical leave from the troubled drug company in December after being hospitalized. Howard Schiller, the company’s former finance chief and a board member, was appointed interim CEO. Schiller will be stepping down as CEO immediately but remain on the board of directors.

Pearson’s illness came as Valeant deals with fallout from a relationship with a drug distribution company, Philidor. The Canadian company cut ties with Philidor last fall amid allegations that Philidor helped steer pharmacy benefit managers toward Valeant’s more expensive drugs over cheaper alternatives.

Valeant has also been criticized for raising prices on drugs it acquired.