The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA”) imposed a £84.2 million (€99.7 million) fine on Pfizer yesterday. In addition, the CMA also fined distributor Flynn Pharma £5.2 million (€6.1 million). The CMA found that Pfizer and Flynn Pharma abused their dominant positions by charging excessive and unfair prices for phenytoin sodium capsules, drugs used to treat epilepsy, in the UK. In addition to the fines, the CMA ordered both entities to reduce their respective prices within timeframes of between 30 working days and 4 months.
In September 2012, Pfizer sold the UK distribution rights for the phenytoin sodium capsules (sold until then under the brand name Epanutin) to Flynn Pharma. Flynn Pharma subsequently de-branded the drug, effectively taking it outside the price regulatory regime. Pfizer continued to manufacture the drugs. The CMA found that, after September 2012, Pfizer supplied the capsules to Flynn Pharma at wholesale prices that were between 780% and 1,600% higher than its previous prices to wholesalers and pharmacies. It also found that Flynn Pharma’s prices to wholesalers and pharmacies were between 2,300% and 2,600% higher than the prices previously paid to Pfizer. Flynn Pharma’s prices also significantly exceeded the prices charged by Pfizer (after September 2012) for the same products in other European countries.
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