Inspection and Regulation

14.08.19

NHS receives £8m pharmaceutical anti-competitive practices payout

The NHS has received an £8m payout from a pharmaceutical firm, after it had been found to be engaged in anti-competitive practices that pushed up the cost of a life-saving drug.

It is the first time that an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has secured a payment of this kind to the NHS.

The pharmaceutical company – who also face a £2.1m fine as a result of the CMA probe – supplies the NHS with fludrocortisone, a life-saving medicine mainly used in the treatment of Addison’s disease. It is paid for by the NHS, using public funds.

Thousands of patients depend on fludrocortisone medicine, which is supplied only on prescription, typically to treat primary or secondary adrenal insufficiency.

Andrea Coscelli, the chief executive of the CMA, said: “The CMA launched this investigation because we consider it unacceptable for the NHS – and the taxpayers who fund it – to have to pay millions of pounds more than they should for this life-saving drug.

“The £8m [compensation payout] will save the NHS the time and expense of seeking damages in court. Importantly, [the pharmaceutical company involved] has also committed to ensuring there are more competitors in this market, giving the NHS the opportunity to secure better value for UK taxpayers’ money in the future.”

The CMA is continuing its investigation into two other, unnamed pharmaceutical companies involved in the anti-competitive deal.

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