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August 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 6)

Pfizer hit by record fine after it raised the price of a drug by 2,600 per cent
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Pfizer hit by record fine after it raised the price of a drug by 2,600 per cent image

Drug giant Pfizer has been fined a record £84.2m for increasing the cost of its anti-epilepsy drug by 2,600 per cent. The price of the drug, Epanutin, was increased from £2m to £50m in one year, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) revealed.

The drug is supplied to 48,000 patients through the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

The price rise happened in 2013 after Pfizer sold the UK rights to the drug to a new distributor, Flynn Pharma, which changed the name of the drug. The CMA also fined Flynn £5.2m for its part in the price hike.

The CMA claimed that the two companies took advantage of the “debranding” exercise to inflate the drug’s price. “The companies deliberately exploited the opportunity offered by debranding to hike up the price for a drug which is relied upon by many thousands of patients. These extraordinary price rises have cost the NHS and the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds,” said Philip Marsden of the CMA.

Both companies are contesting the fines, and are appealing the judgement.


References

(Source: BBC, December 7th, 2016)

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