UK: CMA says second firm admits collusion on essential drug price hike

Drug company Tiofarma has admitted that it took part in an agreement that resulted in significant price hikes for an essential medicine, reported the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). 

This means that 2 of the 3 companies under investigation by the CMA have now admitted to an allegation that they illegally took part in an anti-competitive agreement.

The CMA has alleged, and provisionally found, that the agreement between Aspen, Tiofarma, and Amilco contributed to the price of fludrocortisone acetate tablets supplied to the NHS increasing by up to 1800%. Fludrocortisone is a life-saving medicine that thousands of patients rely on to treat adrenal insufficiency, commonly known as Addison’s Disease.

In October 2019, the CMA issued a “statement of objections” provisionally finding that the 3 suppliers had broken the law. The CMA’s provisional finding was that the agreement involved Tiofarma and Amilco staying out of the UK fludrocortisone market so that Aspen could maintain its position as the sole UK supplier. The CMA also provisionally found that, in exchange, Tiofarma was given the right to be the sole manufacturer of the drug for direct sale in the UK, and Amilco received a 30% share of the increased prices that Aspen was able to charge.