UK Fines Pharma Firm Advanz for Price Hike

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has fined pharmaceutical Advanz and two private equity firms for increasing the price of a thyroid drug by more than 1,000 percent over eight years.

CMA said that Advanz and the buyout groups, which held firms that are now part of the pharma company, charged “excessive and unreasonable prices” for liothyronine.

“[It] exploited a loophole enabling it to reap much higher profits,” CMA added.

Thyroid tablet packs were increased in price by Advanz from £20 in 2009 to £248 in 2017, rendering the treatment unaffordable on the NHS.

CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said that Advanz’s decision to ratchet up the price of liothyronine tablets and impose excessive and unfair fees for over eight years came at a “huge cost” to the NHS and “ultimately to UK taxpayers.”

“But that wasn’t all. It also meant that people dealing with depression and extreme fatigue, as a result of their thyroid conditions, were told they could not continue to receive the most effective treatment for them due to its increased price,” she added.

Meanwhile, Advanz will appeal to the CMA’s decision, saying that the company “utterly disagree” with the watchdog.

“Advanz Pharma takes competition law very seriously,” it added.

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