Drugmaker admits pay-for-delay in UK

Pharmaceutical manufacturing company – Tiofarma – recently confessed to their involvement in a pay-for-delay agreement with Aspen – and admitted to having an agreement with two other drugmakers, increasing the price of fludrocortisone acetate 0.1 milligram tablets by up to 1,800%. This would have resulted in the NHS, among others, overpaying for the drug.

The Competition and Markets Authority started their investigation in October 2017, and recently announced its provisional finding i.e. that Tiofarma and Amilco agreed to stay out of the UK market which benefited Aspen as the sole UK supplier and Aspen entering into a supply agreement with Tiofarma, as well as paying Amilco a 30% share of the higher prices they were able to charge. 

London Partner and competition specialist, Anna Morfey, spoke to Emily Craig at GCR and said:

“Further progress in one of the CMA’s suite of investigations into anti-competitive conduct in the pharmaceutical sector is welcome. Here, Tiofarma has admitted liability and agreed to a fine of up to £186,000 for its role in an anti-competitive agreement which contributed to price hikes of up to 1800% in fludrocortisone acetate tablets. In cases like these, which involve huge price rises for a life-saving medicine, it will be vitally important both to ensure the conduct comes to an end – for the benefit of patients – and also to ensure proper compensation for the NHS.”

She also remarked:

“Here, notably, the fine is far smaller than the £2.1m maximum fine agreed with the other admitted infringer – Aspen Pharmaceutical. There is also no agreement on damages or compensation to be paid to the NHS – unlike Aspen which agreed to pay £8m in compensation.”

Full article Global Competition Review (subscription only).
Competition Market Authority press release.

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