UK Fines Drug Firms For NHS 10,000% Price Hikes

Britain’s competition regulator has fined more than 10 drug firms a record combined 260 million pounds ($360 million) for overcharging the National Health Service (NHS) for a steroid which rose from 70p to 88 pounds a pack in under eight years.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said on Thursday that the breaches meant the NHS paid over 10,000% more for single packs of 10 mg and 20 mg hydrocortisone tablets in 2016 than they were paying in 2008.

Hydrocortisone is used to treat conditions where adrenal glands do not make sufficient hormones, including the life-threatening Addison’s disease.

The CMA said companies including Actavis, and its former parent and now Abbvie-owned Allergan, broke competition rules.

The companies engaged in practices including buying potential rivals to keep their versions off the market, increasing the price of hydrocortisone as sole providers, and continued to pay off the competition over the years, the CMA said.

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