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Over £3m in fines and £1m for NHS in UK CMA pharma probe

Christian Fernsby ▼ | March 6, 2020
The probe by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into the supply of nortriptyline, a drug relied on by thousands of patients every day to relieve symptoms of depression, has resulted in fines totalling more than £3.4 million, and a payment of £1 million directly to the NHS.
King Pharmaceuticals
Business in the UK   King Pharmaceuticals
It has also led to the disqualification of a company director.

Topics: NHS CMA pharma probe UK

he CMA found that, rather than competing, King Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Auden Mckenzie (Pharma Division) Ltd shared out between them the supply of nortriptyline to a large pharmaceutical wholesaler.

From September 2014 to May 2015, the 2 companies agreed that King would supply only 25mg and Auden Mckenzie only 10mg tablets.

The 2 firms also colluded to fix quantities and prices.

King and Auden Mckenzie have now admitted breaking the law.

After this market sharing ended, Accord-UK Ltd took control of Auden Mckenzie’s nortriptyline business, and so the CMA holds it responsible for Auden’s illegal conduct.

As a result, the CMA has fined King and Accord-UK £75,573 and £1,882,238 respectively.

On top of this, Accord-UK and Auden Mckenzie have agreed to make a £1 million payment to the NHS in connection with the case.

It is the second time the CMA has secured a payment to the NHS following one of its pharmaceutical investigations.

The CMA is also fining King, Lexon (UK) Ltd and Alissa Healthcare Research Ltd for illegally sharing commercially sensitive information, to try to keep nortriptyline prices up.

Between 2015 and 2017, when the cost of the drug was falling, the 3 suppliers exchanged information about prices, the volumes they were supplying, and Alissa’s plans to enter the market.

In September 2019, King and Alissa both admitted to breaking the law, and they are today being fined £75,573 and £174,912 respectively.

Lexon did not admit to breaking the law and is being fined a total of £1,220,383.