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23 January 2017

Tribunal puts patient health ahead of business

The word 'health' on a post it note

Epilepsy Society's Chief Executive Clare Pelham is encouraged that the health of patients is being put ahead of business after the Competition Appeal Tribunal refused to suspend the Competition Markets Authority's ruling that they had to reduce the price of phenytoin sodium capsules by today.

In December 2016, The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) fined distributor Flynn Pharma £5.2 million and Pfizer a record £84.2 million after it accused the pair of "excessive and unfair" pricing for the epilepsy medicine, pricing that saw the price of the drug increase by up to 2,600 per cent over night.

Last week Flynn Pharma asked the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) for the CMA's  decision to be suspended while they appealed against the watchdog's decision. The UK-based dug company said that if it were forced to reduce its prices it would not be "commercially feasible" to restore them at a later date should their appeal against the CMA's decision be successful. However, the Tribunal concluded that the harm to the public from allowing the continuation of higher prices for the product outweighed the harm to Flynn that this may cause.

Chief Executive of Epilepsy Society Clare Pelham said: 'I am encouraged that the Competition Appeal Tribunal is putting the health of patients and the sustainability of our hardworking NHS ahead of business. While pharmaceutical companies are entitled to make a reasonable profit, they must not exploit the NHS in the process. I expect that Flynn Pharma will now reduce their prices in line with the wishes of the CMA so that those that rely on the drug can have access to it at a fair price to our healthcare system.'

In the meantime Ms Pelham is still waiting for a response back from the drug company's chief executive Dr David Fakes after she wrote to him in December asking for his assurance  on the long-term commitment to the supply of phenytoin sodium capsules for at least the next five years.

Read more 

Clare Pelham expresses frustration with Flynn Phrama

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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