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09 December 2016

Epilepsy Society's CEO Clare Pelham tackles Pfizer in The Times

A letter in today's Times (9 December 2016) from Epilepsy Society's chief executive Clare Pelham calls on drug company Pfizer to give people with epilepsy a hard and fast guarantee that it will continue to manufacture phenytoin sodium capsules.

In the letter Clare Pelham says:

"Sir, When Theresa May launched her successful bid for No 10 she did so with a call for "responsible capitalism". The Competition and Markets Authority has just handed a record fine of £84.2 million to Pfizer, and another to Flynn Pharma (Dec 8), for what can only be described as irresponsible capitalism, or more accurately corporate greed.

Of course drug manufacturers must make a reasonable profit to fund their research. Pfizer says on its website that one of its four strategic priorities is 'earning greater respect from society'. Quite right. But that is hard to reconcile with a price increase of up to 2,600 per cent for a single vital drug for 48,000 people with epilepsy in Britain.

If Pfizer really means what it says, it should immediately reassure these 48,000 people, who will otherwise have an anxious Christmas, that the company will continue to manufacture its vital phenytoin sodium capsules come what may."

Clare Pelham
CEO, Epilepsy Society

Clare has also spoken on Sky News and Radio 5 Live, criticising Pfizer and Flynn Pharma's decision to increase the price of the epilepsy drug to an excessive rate.

Clare said: ''Over one per cent of the population - or 600,000 people - have epilepsy, It is vital that they can have confidence in the supply of their current medication, and confidence that research is underway to develop new and better drugs for the future.

"Every day members of the public support medical research by Epilepsy Society, with our partners, to improve the lives of those affected by epilepsy. It seems entirely wrong that as tax payers they should be asked to support price increases by up to 2,600 per cent to the NHS."

Read more 

Read Flynn Pharma's response to Clare Pelham's letter.

Drug firms should blush at up to 2,600 per cent price increase to NHS

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