British watchdog accuses Canadian drug giant of overcharging NHS by 'millions'

The firm reportedly hiked the price of an essential thyroid drug by 6,000 per cent

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has accused the Canadian giant, Concordia, of overcharging the NHS by “millions” for a life-changing thyroid drug.

The watchdog said that it had investigated Concordia and found that the firm had “abused its dominant position to overcharge the NHS” by hiking the price of liothyronine by 6,000 per cent in 10 years.

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The amount it paid per pack of the pills rose from around £4.46 before the drug was de-branded in 2007, to £258.19 by July 2017, the CMA stated.

“Pharmaceutical companies which abuse their position and overcharge for drugs are forcing the NHS – and the UK taxpayer – to pay over the odds for important medical treatments,” CMA Chief Executive, Andrea Coscelli said.

“We allege that Concordia used its market dominance in the supply of liothyronine tablets to do exactly that,” he added.

Hitting back, Concordia said it did not believe competition law had been “infringed” and insisted that it is “co-operatively” working with the CMA’s investigations.

“The pricing of liothyronine has been conducted openly and transparently with the Department of Health in the UK over a period of ten years.  Over that time, significant investment has been made in this medicine to ensure its continued availability for patients in the UK, to the specifications required by the medicines and healthcare products regulatory agency in the UK,” the Canadian company stated.

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