The UK Competition and Markets Authority, the country's antitrust regulator, said on Tuesday that Concordia International ( CXRX ), a specialty drugmaker, may have overcharged the UK's National Health Service ( NHS ) for the thyroid medication liothyronine, "abusing" its dominant market position.
The regulator said it provisionally found that the Oakville, Ontario-based company charged the NHS more than GBP34 million ($45 million) on the drug last year compared with GBP600,000 in 2006. The per-pack price rose from around GBP4.46 before being de-branded in 2007 to GBP258.19 by July 2017, a 6,000% increase.
The regulator added that in the meantime "production costs remained broadly stable."
Liothyronine is a hormone replacement medication used to treat an underactive thyroid, which affects at least 2 in every 100 people and which can lead to depression, tiredness and weight gain, the CMA said.
Concordia said it does "not believe that competition law has been infringed."
It said the pricing of liothyronine has been conducted "openly and transparently" with the Department of Health in the UK over a period of 10 years and that over that period it has made "significant investment" in the medicine to ensure its continued availability for patients, to the specifications required by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in the UK.
The company said it will review the CMA's preliminary position and respond to it in detail. It said it will "continue to work co-operatively with the CMA" during the investigation.
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