Commercial Pfizer and Flynn Pharma face charges in UK for...

Pfizer and Flynn Pharma face charges in UK for unfair price hike of epilepsy drug


The U.K.’s competition watchdog claimed that Pfizer and Flynn Pharma Ltd. might have violated antitrust rules, as the two companies charged “unfairly high prices” for their epileptic seizures therapy.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it had preliminarily considered that the two companies “exploited a loophole by de-branding the drug known as Epanutin prior to September 2012,” such that its price couldn’t be regulated like other branded drugs.

This provisional decision by the CMA came after the 2020 directive given by the U.K. Court of Appeal which said that the authority’s investigation, which it did earlier, was “insufficiently deep or intense.”  According to CMA, the re-investigation of the case started in June 2020 after court’s ruling, the previous year.

The Chief executive officer of CMA stated, ”Thousands of patients depend on this drug to prevent life-threatening seizures as a result of their epilepsy… This is a matter that is important for the government, for the public as patients and taxpayers, and for the pharmaceutical industry itself.”

In 2016, Pfizer was fined 84.2 million pound and Flynn 5.2 million pounds by the U.K. watchdog, for as much as 2600% rise in prices of the unbranded versions of anti-epilepsy drug, in September, 2012.

Prior to the adoption of final decision, Pfizer seems to have a possibility to respond to the CMA’s statement of objections. It said that it “continues to co-operate fully with the CMA’s ongoing investigation.”

The company, in an emailed statement, said, “Ensuring a sustainable supply of our products to U.K. patients is of paramount importance to Pfizer and Flynn Pharma was at the heart of our decision to divest the product in 2012.”  However, no spokesperson from the other company responded to the request to express their stance.

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