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UK watchdog: Pfizer in breach of rules over epilepsy drug

Posted On: 21 Sep 2021   |   Posted By: Politico

The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority has provisionally found that U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, along with a second company called Flynn, broke competition law after raising the price of the epilepsy medicine phenytoin sodium.
The CMA announced today that the two companies exploited a regulatory loophole and used their dominant market position to unfairly hike the drug's price way above previous cost. They did this through de-branding phenytoin sodium so that it become a generic that no longer fell under branded pharmaceutical rules.
While branded pharmaceuticals usually enjoy greater protection from competition, in this case, “Pfizer and Flynn were the dominant suppliers of the drug,” the regulator wrote. The result was that the National Health Service “had no choice but to pay unfairly high prices for this vital medicine,” it added, noting that NHS spending on the drug rose from £2 million in 2012 to £50 million in 2013.
For over four years, Pfizer hiked its prices from 780 percent to 1,600...

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