Two drug firms admit to colluding to keep prices up

King Pharmaceuticals Limited and Alissa Healthcare Research Limited have admitted to sharing information to keep drug prices up.

As part of a competition law investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into drug firms King Pharmaceuticals Limited, Alissa Healthcare Research Limited and Lexon (UK) Limited, two suppliers of the antidepressant, nortriptyline, have admitted illegally sharing information in order to keep prices up.

The CMA’s investigation into Lexon is ongoing as the firm denies involvement”

In June 2019, the CMA issued a statement of objections provisionally finding that the three suppliers had exchanged commercially sensitive information about prices, volumes and entry plans in order to keep prices high.

King and Alissa have now admitted to breaking competition law by exchanging strategic and competitively-sensitive information with one another and with Lexon during periods between 2015 and 2017.

The CMA’s investigation into Lexon is ongoing as the firm denies involvement in the suspected infringement. Therefore, any infringement decision, which could lead to a fine, would be made at the end of the investigation.

Nortriptyline is prescribed by the UK National Health Service (NHS) and relied on by thousands of patients every month to relieve the symptoms of depression. NHS spending on the drug peaked at £38 million in 2015.