Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer was fined a record £84.2 million (approximately Rs 828 crores) by Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority for overcharging the National Health Services by 2,600% for an anti-epilepsy drug, Reuters reported. Flynn Pharma was also fined £5.2 million (around Rs 51.2 crores) for raising the prices of phenytoin sodium capsules in 2012.
The price for 100 mg packs of an anti-epilepsy drug for the NHS was hiked from £2.82 to £67.50 overnight in 2012. However, in May 2014, the price was reduced to £54. Pfizer had sold the rights for phenytoin sodium capsules to drug distributors Flynn Pharma in 2012, after which the price had soared. As a result, NHS had to spend £50 million (Rs 492 crores) in 2013 for phenytoin sodium capsules instead of £2 million (around Rs 18 crores) a year, reported The Guardian.
The watchdog also noted that Pfizer was charging a higher price for the drug in the United Kingdom than in any other European country.
US-based Pfizer has rejected the CMA’s findings and said it would appeal against the decision. “Phenytoin capsules were a loss making product for Pfizer and the Flynn transaction represented an opportunity to secure ongoing supply of an important medicine for patients with epilepsy, while maintaining continuity of manufacture,” Pfizer said in a statement, reported Bloomberg.