By Joe Hoppe

 

Pharma giant Pfizer Inc. has been fined 63.0 million pounds ($75.6 million) by the U.K. markets regulator for overcharging the country's National Health Service for a life-saving epilepsy drug.

Flynn Pharma Ltd. was also fined GBP6.7 million for charging what the Competition and Markets Authority described as unfairly high prices for phenytoin sodium capsules for more than four years, with the ultimate cost borne by the NHS, the regulator said in a statement dated Thursday.

The CMA said the companies debranded the drug--formerly known as Epanutin--so that it was no longer subject to price regulation and allowing them to set prices at their discretion. As Pfizer and Flynn were the dominant U.K. suppliers of the drug at the time, the NHS had no choice but to pay the inflated final price, the regulator said.

Over four years Pfizer charged prices between 780% and 1,600% higher than previously, the CMA said. The company supplied the drug to Flynn, which sold the capsules on to pharmacies and wholesalers for 2,300%-2,600% higher than previously, the regulator said.

NHS annual costs for phenytoin capsules rose from GBP2 million in 2012 to around GBP50 million the following year, according to the regulator.

Neither Pfizer nor Flynn Pharma were immediately available for comment.

 

Write to Joe Hoppe at joseph.hoppe@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 22, 2022 04:22 ET (08:22 GMT)

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