‘Excessive Pricing’ Inquiry Widens As EC’s First Antitrust Price Probe Targets Aspen Pharma
The litany of complaints against pharmaceutical companies for imposing “excessive” prices on generic drugs is growing after the European Commission decided to pursue Aspen Pharma over price rises imposed on a range of anticancer products it acquired from GSK.
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Newly passed UK legislation gives the government powers to curb pricing of unbranded generics when market forces fail. The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry has welcomed amendments to draft legislation that have addressed its concerns over onerous requirements.
The UK competition authority has provisionally found that Actavis UK imposed “excessive” price rises on its generic version of hydrocortisone for the life-threatening condition, adrenal insufficiency. The case has similarities to the price increases on phenytoin capsules, for which Pfizer and Flynn Pharma were recently fined.
The UK competition authority has fined Pfizer and Flynn Pharma a total of £90m for charging “excessive and unfair” prices for phenytoin sodium capsules; Pfizer has said it will appeal. With an earlier CMA decision to impose a hefty fine on GlaxoSmithKline for its part in a pay-for-delay deal, companies should pay careful consideration to any competition issues raised by their pricing strategies for marketed drugs.