Britain raps Pfizer over inflated epilepsy drug prices

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Published: August 6, 2015 12:34:04 PM

Britain's competition watchdog alleged on Thursday that U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and Flynn Pharma had breached competition law by ramping up the cost of an epilepsy drug used by more than 50,000 British patients.

Britain’s competition watchdog alleged on Thursday that U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc and Flynn Pharma had breached competition law by ramping up the cost of an epilepsy drug used by more than 50,000 British patients.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said its provisional view was that Pfizer and Flynn Pharma each abused a dominant position by charging “excessive and unfair” prices for phenytoin sodium capsules

Officials at Pfizer were not immediately available to comment.

Pfizer, which was in politicians’ crosshairs last year after trying to buy British rival AstraZeneca, manufactures the drug and Flynn distributes it.

The U.S. group used to market the medicine itself, under the brand name Epanutin, but sold the rights to Flynn in September 2012, since when the price at which the product is sold to Flynn has surged, the CMA said.

“Flynn then sold the drug on to customers at prices which were between 25 and 27 times higher than those historically charged by Pfizer,” the CMA said in a statement.

As a result, the state-run National Health Service, which used to spend around 2.3 million pounds ($3.6 million) on phenytoin sodium capsules annually, saw its bill jump to more than 50 million in 2013 and more than 40 million in 2014. ($1 = 0.6401 pounds)

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