The Hindu Business Line
Actavis UK raised drug prices 12,000%, finds watchdog
Drug maker Actavis UK broke competition law by raising prices of hydrocortisone tablets by more than 12,000 per cent, Britain's competition watchdog said in a provisional ruling on Friday.
Higher prices meant the tablets cost Britain's National Health Service (NHS) about £70 million ($87 million) last year, up from about £522,000 previously, the CMA said.
The company raised prices of 10 mg hydrocortisone tablets by more than 12,000 per cent compared to the price they were sold at by another company before April 2008, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said.
It raised the price of 20 mg hydrocortisone tablets by nearly 9,500 per cent, the CMA said. The 10-mg tablets which cost the NHS 70p each in April 2008 cost £88 by March 2016, it found. The tablets are used for hormone replacement therapies in people whose adrenal glands do not produce sufficient amounts of natural steroid hormones.
Actavis UK's former parent Allergan Plc was created by a $66-billion merger that saw Dublin-based Actavis acquire Botox maker Allergan Inc in November 2014 and change its name to the latter.
Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries bought the company in a $40.5-billion deal that closed in August. Teva confirmed that Actavis UK had received a statement of objection from the CMA and that it would defend itself against the allegations. “Although the pricing of the acquired Actavis product, Hydrocortisone, under investigation was never under Teva's effective control, Teva believes that intervention by the CMA in prices for generic medicines raises serious policy concerns regarding the roles of both the CMA and the Department of Health,” the company said in an emailed statement.