Along with distributor Flynn Pharma, drug maker Pfizer short competition law when the cost of pills were hiked by up to 2,600 per cent overnight, responded the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
It meant the NHS saw the cost of the medicine rocket from approximately £2 million a year in 2012 to about £50 million in 2013 – approvingly above the price Pfizer charged any other European country, according to the watchdog.
At one grade the NHS saw the price of 100mg cks of the drug jump from £2.83 to £67.50, initiate the CMA.
The NHS had no alternative but to y, as epilepsy tients who are already taking phenytoin sodium capsules should not predominantly be switched to other products due to the risk of loss of seizure control.
The phenytoin sodium capsules are acclimatized by around 48,000 tients in the UK.
Flynn Pharma was fined £5.2 million, drift the firms were fined nearly £90 million for the “excessive and unfair” sacrifice strategy.
The two com nies have now been ordered to reduce their yments for the anti-epilepsy drug.
The CMA said that before September 2012, Pfizer set up and sold phenytoin sodium capsules to UK wholesalers and pharmacies under the stigmatize name E nutin and the prices of the drug were regulated.
But Pfizer sold the UK cataloguing rights for E nutin to Flynn Pharma in September 2012, which then saw the tranquillizer de-branded – or made generic – meaning that it was no longer subject to amount regulation.
Both firms then each ramped up the price of the hypnotic, meaning that overnight the NHS saw the cost surge by between 2,300 per cent and 2,600 per cent, according to the CMA.
Philip Marsden, chairman of the at all events decision group for the CMA’s investigation, said: “The com nies deliberately exploited the occasion offered by de-branding to hike up the price for a drug which is relied upon by multitudinous thousands of tients.
“These extraordinary price rises have charge the NHS and the tax yer tens of millions of pounds.”
He added: “This is the highest attractive the CMA has imposed and it sends out a clear message to the sector that we are determined to shiver down on such behaviour and to protect customers, including the NHS, and tax yers from being manipulated.”
The CMA said Pfizer and Flynn Pharma abused their dominant positions in the hawk by over-charging for the drug.
Pfizer claimed the anti-epilepsy drug E nutin was loss-making in advance it was de-branded, but the CMA found that any losses would have been redeemed within two months of the price rises.
Both firms have now been foreordained up to four months to reduce their prices, to ensure there is no gamble to the supply of the drug to tients who rely on it.
The CMA said the firms could raid prices which are profitable, but they must not be excessive and unfair.
Pfizer spurned the findings and plans to appeal against the decision.
It said its distribution goods deal with Flynn Pharma in September 2012 “represented an occasion to secure ongoing supply of an important medicine for tients with epilepsy”.
IN a asseveration the firm said: “In this transaction, and in all of our business operations, we approached this divestment with virtue, and believe it fully complies with established competition law.”
The group added the extended price of the drug was still 25 per cent to 40 per cemt farther down than the cost of an equivalent medicine by another supplier to the NHS.
Flynn Pharma conjectured it will also appeal against the decision.
David Fakes, chief manager of Flynn Pharma, said: “We believe that left unchallenged, the CMA’s verdict today would stunt investment in generics, eventually leading to a reduction in stock and less choice for doctors and tients.
“It is a matter of common interest for us to plea and see this decision overturned.”