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The Competitions and Markets Authority has confirmed that drug firm Aspen has offered to pay the NHS £8 million, as part of a wider package, to resolve competition concerns over the supply of a vital medicine.
The CMA investigated the company over suspected anti-competitive arrangements regarding the supply of fludrocortisone acetate 0.1 mg tablets - a life-saving medicine, on which thousands of patients depend.
Fludrocortisone is supplied only on prescription, mainly to treat primary or secondary adrenal insufficiency, commonly known as Addison’s Disease, and is paid for by the NHS. The payout reflects the first time the CMA will secure such a payment to the NHS in one of its pharmaceutical investigations.
Andrea Coscelli, the CMA’s chief executive, said: “The CMA launched this investigation because we consider it unacceptable for the NHS – and the taxpayers who fund it - to have to pay millions of pounds more than they should for this life-saving drug.
“This is the first time a CMA investigation will secure a payment for the NHS. The £8 million Aspen has agreed to provide will save the NHS the time and expense of seeking damages in court. Importantly, Aspen has also committed to ensuring there are more competitors in this market, giving the NHS the opportunity to secure better value for UK taxpayers’ money in the future. We welcome Aspen approaching us to find a new way of addressing the CMA’s concerns. We believe this resolution will benefit the NHS, patients and taxpayers. Meanwhile we continue to investigate the two other companies we suspect illegally participated in this arrangement.”