Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, the drug company whose business model has been under siege, announced on Monday that J. Michael Pearson, its chairman and chief executive, was on medical leave and that a team of executives would run the company while he was out.
Valeant confirmed last week that Mr. Pearson had recently been hospitalized and was being treated for a severe case of pneumonia.
Mr. Pearson had been in the spotlight after Valeant came under fire for its drug pricing and distribution policies. Valeant’s strategy of acquiring old drugs and sharply raising their prices, often by several hundred percent, has attracted attention from Congress.
The company’s stock price fell 6 percent in premarket trading on Monday. Its shares have fallen more than 50 percent since its 52-week high in early August.
Valeant has also faced scrutiny over its relationship with Philidor Rx Services, a mail-order pharmacy that dispensed some of Valeant’s expensive dermatology drugs and took care of getting them reimbursed by insurance companies. Valeant severed its ties to Philidor in October, after questions were raised about the practices.
Valeant did not name an interim chief. Instead, its board created an “office of the chief executive officer,” which will include Robert Chai-Onn, its executive vice president and general counsel; Dr. Ari Kellen, executive vice president and company group chairman; and Robert Rosiello, executive vice president and chief financial officer.
It also created a board committee to oversee and support the new office of the chief executive.
“The committee will be working closely with the entire management team to ensure that the company continues to operate normally while Mike focuses on his health,” Robert A. Ingram, Valeant’s lead independent director, said in a statement. “I am confident that with the vast industry and business knowledge from the management team and the board of directors, we will manage through this period.”