Drug firm overcharged the NHS by up to £70 million
Actavis UK, a supplier of medication to the NHS, hiked the price of life saving drugs by 12,000% according to the competition watchdog.
According to the findings of the body Actavis hiked the price of the drug from 70p in April 2008 to £88 after it purchased the rights to the branded drug from another supplier. It is claimed in the findings that Actavis should face penalties for charging “excessive and unfair” prices. Teva, the Israeli-based company that recently acquired the company, said it "intends to defend the allegations".
The drugs were used to treat life threatening diseases such as Addison’s disease where the body’s adrenal glands struggle to produce enough natural steroid hormones. More than 900,000 of the tablets had been dispensed in 2015 meaning that NHS spending on the drug jumped from £550,000 to a humungous £70 million.
The case against the company centres around ongoing issues with price regulation practices. Currently companies can charge what they like for generic or de-branded drugs because, unlike branded drugs, they are not subject to price regulation.
The CMA's provisional findings come a week after it fined US giant Pfizer and distributor Flynn Pharma a total of nearly £90m in a separate overcharging case. Both firms dispute the CMA's conclusions.
Earlier this year, drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline was among firms hit with a £45m penalty after a pay-to-delay scandal surrounding anti-depressant drug Seroxat.
Teva defended the role of generic drugs, saying competition from these medicines saved the NHS in England and Wales £13.5bn a year overall.