Before September 2012, Pfizer manufactured and sold phenytoin sodium capsules to UK wholesalers and pharmacies under the brand name Epanutin, and the price was regulated. In September 2012, Pfizer sold the UK distribution rights to Flynn Pharma, debranding the drug and making it generic.
The fines follow an overnight price increase for the drug of up to 2,600%, after it was deliberately debranded, the CMA said. Pfizer makes the drug and sells it to Flynn, which in turn sells it to the #NHS.
The CMA also fined the drugs distributor Flynn Pharma £5.2m for charging excessive and unfair prices in the UK for phenytoin sodium capsules, which are used by an estimated 48,000 epilepsy patients in the UK to prevent and control seizures. The watchdog has ordered both companies to drop their prices.
The Competition and Markets Authority, issuing its biggest fine, said the “extraordinary price rises have cost the NHS and the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds”.
The pharmaceutical company Pfizer has been fined a record £84.2m by the UK’s competition regulator after the price charged to the NHS for an anti-epilepsy drug was increased by up to 2,600%.