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HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 6 September 2016

Drug firm plans to increase prices for older NHS drugs

03 Sept 2016, The Times, Billy Kenber

 

The Times has revealed that the NHS has approved large price increases for drugs without questioning the reasoning. John Beighton, The British Chief Executive of Concordia International, previously known as AMCo, has said the company will continue to increase the cost of its medicines and insisted that health officials in the UK were not opposed to their pricing strategy. AMCo is among the four drug companies highlighted by The Times that have specialised in buying the rights to older drugs and increasing their price as they are the sole supplier for the drug. Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, has referred evidence gathered on sole supplier drug companies to the competition watchdog, however this has not had an effect on their practice.

 

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Drug firm plans to increase prices for older NHS drugs

03 Sept 2016, The Times, Billy Kenber

 

A controversial drug company has said it will continue to increase the cost of medicines and insisted that UK health officials had not indicated that they were unhappy with its pricing strategy.

The British chief executive of AMCo, which recently changed its name to Concordia International, told pharmaceutical industry analysts last month that the company had further price rises planned.

John Beighton said the company would “always increase price where we can” and said there were “modest price [increases] forecast for the future”.

Mr Beighton said that there were also price declines “factored in” for some products, and that selling higher volumes at lower prices was also “part of our strategy”.

AMCo is one of four drug companies highlighted by The Times that have specialised in buying up the rights to old drugs and dramatically increasing the price.

They are often the sole supplier of the medicines and are able to implement huge price increases because of a loophole in the rules, which means they are not subject to a profit cap or other restrictions if they drop the brand name of a medicine.

The Times revealed last month that NHS officials had waved through large price increases set by AMCo with no questions asked. The new prices for 54 medicines mentioned in a large cache of emails cost the NHS an extra £125 million last year.

Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, has previously referred evidence gathered by this newspaper about four firms including AMCo to the competition watchdog but has failed to stop their tactics.

In a call with analysts as AMCo’s Canadian owner, Concordia, announced its second-quarter financial results in mid-August, senior executives said they hadn’t been approached by anyone from the Department of Health for the past two months over “pricing issues”.

Mark Thompson, Concordia’s chief executive, said that the company believed the department was “pleased with the way the system operates. So I don’t think you’re going to see any dramatic changes.”

Mr Beighton said the company would not be changing its strategy around product pricing in the UK because of the political climate.

He said the firm hadn’t been contacted by the department and insisted that in future the “main driver” of growth in the UK would be in launching new products.

HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 6 September 2016

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