Production & Manufacturing

Pfizer, Flynn appeal against UK regulator's £89.4m fine for epilepsy drug price hike

PBR Staff Writer Published 16 February 2017

Pfizer and Flynn Pharma have appealed against the £89.4m fine imposed by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for charging excessive and unfair prices for an anti-epilepsy drug.

Pfizer has been fined £84.2m and Flynn Pharma £5.2m after they increased prices by as much as 2,600% in September 2012.

The companies have separately filed appeals in the Competition Appeal Tribunal denying that they were in a dominant position in the market for the Pfizer manufactured anti-epilepsy phenytoin sodium capsules in the UK as claimed by the CMA.

Both Pfizer and Flynn accused the UK watchdog of ignoring market realities when it ruled that the price Flynn paid to acquire the anti-epilepsy drug from Pfizer and the price it charged from the National Health Service (NHS) were both excessive.

Further in the appeals, the CMA was accused of not considering the point that the price charged by Flynn was comparatively lower than the price paid by NHS on a similar drug distributed by another supplier.

The two pharmas are appealing for the CMA decision to be completely or partially made invalid and the fines to be removed completely or at least lowered. Pfizer has also requested that the CMA should compensate it of the associated costs it had to incur in the appeal process.

In December last year, the CMA had ruled from its investigation that Pfizer and Flynn had hiked prices of phenytoin sodium capsules by 2,600% in September 2012 by abusing their dominant position for the anti-epilepsy drug in the country.

The CMA had stated that owing to the unreasonable price increase of the critical drug, the NHS’ annual expenditure to buy the phenytoin sodium capsules from Flynn had shot up to around £50m in 2013 from the 2012 figure of £2m.