Valeant Pharmaceuticals CEO will take medical leave following pneumonia hospitalization

Valeant Pharmaceuticals

Valeant Pharmaceuticals CEO J. Michael Pearson has announced plans to take medical leave following his hospitalization from pneumonia last week.

Shares at the Canadian pharmaceutical company fell 10% in morning trading Monday.

Valeant says three executives will take over for Pearson in his absence. His temporary replacements include Executive Vice President and General Counsel Robert Chai-Onn, Executive Vice President and Chairman Dr. Ari Kellen, and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Robert Rosiello.

A representative for Valeant announced on Monday that Pearson has a “severe case of pneumonia and is receiving treatment in the hospital.” No further details about his condition have been reported at this time.

Valeant has been under fire for its relationship wtih mail-order pharmacy Philidor. Critics believe Philidor created a network of “phantom pharmacies” to steer pharmacy benefit managers toward Valeant’s more-expensive drugs, rather than to cheaper alternatives. The companies cut ties in October.

Valeant seemed to be turning around its operations after announcing a long-term deal with drugstore chain Walgreens for its dermatology and ophthalmology treatments.

Pearson, 56, joined Valeant in 2008 after a 23-year career with the consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

In just 7 years Pearson turned Valeant from a small boutique pharma into a major pharmaceutial company.

Pearson led a string of acquisitions that included Wellbutrin XL maker Biovail in 2010 to form Laval, Quebec-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.

Sales under Pearson’s guidance jumped from $2.46 billion in 2011 to an expected $10.4 billion to $10.5 billion in 2015.

Valeant shares have fallen by 30% in the last three months.