NHS Finance

24.05.19

Pharmaceutical firms accused of illegally colluding to drive up drug prices, ‘costing the NHS millions’

Four pharmaceutical firms have been accused of illegally colluding to restrict the supply of an anti-nausea tablet, drastically driving up prices by 700%, the competition watchdog has alleged.

Between December 2013 and December 2017, the cost of Prochlorperazine, also known as “buccal” tablets, rose from £6.49 per pack to £51.68 after the drug companies agreed not to compete for the supply of the prescription-only drug.

The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) said it had provisionally found that Alliance Pharmaceuticals, Focus, Lexon and Medreich entered into an overarching agreement through two separate agreements.

Under these alleged agreements, Alliance supplied the drug exclusively to Focus, who then paid Lexon a share of the profits it earned on the onward sales of Alliance’s drugs. Lexon, in turn, allegedly shared these payments with Medreich.

The CMA alleges each of the agreements individually broke competition law, and the resulting price hike has lost the NHS millions, as costs rose from £2.7m to £7.5m between 2013 and 2018 despite the NHS dispensing fewer packs.

Ann Pope, CMA senior director of antitrust, said: “Agreements where a company pays a rival not to enter the market can lead to higher prices and deprive the NHS of huge savings that often result from competition between drug suppliers.

“The NHS should not be denied the opportunity of benefitting from an increased choice of suppliers, or lower prices, for important medicine.”

This is CMA’s provisional findings, and the companies now have the chance to respond before a final decision is made, with the watchdog capable of imposing a 10% financial penalty.

Alliance Pharmaceuticals has denied the allegations, stating it had: “no involvement in the pricing or distribution of Prochlorperazine since 2013, when it was out-licensed by the company to Focus Pharmaceuticals on an exclusive basis, as is normal market practice.”

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

NHS gambling clinic opens In Leeds

18/09/2019NHS gambling clinic opens In Leeds

National charity GambleAware have opened The NHS Northern Gambling Clinic in Leeds today, the first in the country outside of London. Throug... more >
NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took steps towards her midwifery dreams. Lisa Payne has been delivering ... more >
GPhC to begin publishing pharmacy inspections reports publicly

17/09/2019GPhC to begin publishing pharmacy inspections reports publicly

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has begun publishing pharmacy inspection reports online, with the aim of “providing assurance and... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated th... read more >

last word

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The gender pay gap in the NHS remains a hotly debated topic, especially as the final report from the Gender Pay Gap in Medicine Review approaches. Andrea Hester, deputy director of employment rel... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

23/08/2019An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

Grey Giddins, member of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand, discusses how hand care and injury prevention have become increasingly important given the UK’s ageing population   It’s no secret that the UK’s ageing population presents challenges for the NHS. The fact that we are living longer means greater de... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Being on the receiving end of some “thanks” can make communit... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professionals as new research reveals how shockingly under-vauled our NHS, edu... more >
Helpforce to launch training programmes for NHS volunteers

10/06/2019Helpforce to launch training programmes for NHS volunteers

Kay Fawcett OBE, clinical advisor and education lead at Helpforce, and Lynn Twinn, talent development consultant, outline the new national traini... more >
Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

10/06/2019Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

Peter Skitt, county director and commissioner for Ceredigion Hywel Dda University Health Board, looks ahead to the new integrated care centre bei... more >

interviews

NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took steps towards her midwifery dreams. Lisa Payne has been delivering ... more >
How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >
Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >

health service focus

View all News