Health

Pfizer fined $106 million for drug price increase of 2,600% in Britain

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Both companies plan to appeal.

“Phenytoin capsules were a loss-making product for Pfizer and the Flynn transaction represented an opportunity to secure ongoing supply of an important medicine for patients with epilepsy, while maintaining continuity of manufacture,” the company said in a statement. “When Flynn launched its product, the company set a price that was between 25 and 40 percent less than the price of the equivalent medicine from another supplier to the NHS which had long been regulated, and appeared to be acceptable to, the Department of Health.”

A Flynn spokesman said, “Phenytoin sodium capsules are already less expensive than the alternative equivalent drugs in the U.K. market. It beggars belief that the CMA seeks to punish Flynn for selling phenytoin capsules at a significant discount to phenytoin tablets.” The CMA calculated that, according to Pfizer’s figures, all such losses would have been recovered within two months of the price increases. “This is the highest fine the CMA has imposed and it sends out a clear message to the sector that we are determined to crack down on such behavior and to protect customers, including the NHS, and taxpayers from being exploited,” the CMA’s Marsden said.

Phenytoin sodium is sold as Dilantin in the United States. Other drugmakers have been blasted for soaring prices. In 2015, U.S. pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli’s Turing Pharmaceuticals bought the rights to Daraprim, a half-century-old drug that treats a parasitic infection, and raised the price more than 50-fold. And Mylan has rocketed the price of its injectable medication EpiPen to more than $600, a six-fold increase from 2007.

– UPI

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