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UK: Pfizer appeals record fine over epilepsy drug hike

 |  February 19, 2017

Pfizer wasted little time in challenging the record £85 million fine imposed by a UK cost watchdog for a supply scheme that resulted in a 2,600% price increase on an epilepsy drug sold to the National Health System. The drugmaker in an appeal claims the competition regulator ignored market realities when it fined Pfizer.

The government’s Competition and Markets Authority disclosed the appeal of the $108 million fine in a summary on its website. Flynn Pharma, the wholesale distributor that also was fined £5.2 million in the scheme, has filed a separate appeal.

Both companies challenged CMA findings that they were “dominant” players in the market for the drug. They claimed the CMA ignored market realities when it said that the price Flynn paid Pfizer for the drug and the price it then charged the NHS were excessive. It said the CMA didn’t even take into account that the price that Flynn charged was less than what the NHS paid for a comparable version of the drug from another supplier.

Pfizer said its “conduct was entirely unobjectionable” when it took into account the revenue-earning potential (or economic value) of the drug to Flynn in setting its supply price.

Both companies asked for the decision to be annulled and the fines to be set aside, or at least reduced. Pfizer also says it wants the agency to pay its costs for the appeal.

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