CMA accuses four pharmas of anticompetitive behaviour
pharmatimes | May 23, 2019
Four pharma companies stand accused in the UK of colluding to artificially inflate the price of prescription-only, anti-nausea and dizziness drug prochlorperazine, costing the NHS millions of pounds and breaking competition law.In a statement of objections, the UK's the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) alleges that, between June 2013 and July 2018, Alliance, Focus, Lexon and Medreich agreed not to compete for the supply of prescription-only prochlorperazine 3mg dissolvable or “buccal” tablets to the NHS.Between December 2013 and December 2017, the prices paid by the NHS for the drug rose by around 700% from £6.49 per pack of 50 tablets to £51.68, it said, further noting that from 2014 to 2018, the annual costs incurred by the NHS for prochlorperazine increased from around £2.7 million to around £7.5 million, even though the number of packs dispensed fell.The watchdog has provisionally found that Lexon and Medreich were paid a share of the profits earned by Focus on the supply of the Alliance product, and agreed not to compete for the supply of prochlorperazine in the UK.It also provisionally finds that Alliance, Focus, Lexon and Medreich entered into an overarching agreement that was implemented through two separate agreements one between Alliance and Focus, and one between Focus, Lexon and Medreich. Under these alleged agreements Alliance supplied prochlorperazine exclusively to Focus. Focus then paid Lexon a share of the profits it earned on the onward sales of Alliance’s Prochlorperazine. Lexon, in turn, shared these payments with Medreich.