As U.S. officials press a massive case for alleged generic drug price fixing, authorities in the U.K. have unearthed an example of rivals working a little too closely with each other.
King Pharmaceuticals and Alissa Healthcare Research, which both sold the antidepressant drug nortriptyline, admitted to exchanging “commercially sensitive information” in order to keep prices high.
The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said in June it had found the companies exchanged info about prices, volumes and market entry plans for their drugs. Officials opened their investigation back in October 2017, and the allegations covered conduct between 2015 to 2017.
Even as King and Alissa admitted to the violations, a third company, Lexon Limited, denied them. The investigation against Lexon is ongoing, and the authorities say they’re preparing to levy penalties against the company.
Meanwhile, a slate of generic drugmakers face U.S. allegations that they worked together to keep prices high. Dozens of states have sued leading generic firms, alleging they met in person and communicated digitally to share info about launch plans and divide up the market. The alleged price-fixing scheme encompassed some of the biggest generics makers in the business, including Teva Pharmaceutical and Mylan, prosecutors say.
In the U.K., competition authorities have taken action against numerous drugmakers in recent years. Pfizer ran into trouble with a 2,600% price hike in the U.K., sparking an investigation and a record £84.2 million fine that was eventually overturned.
Officials in 2016 ordered GlaxoSmithKline to pay £37.6 million over deals with generics companies to delay competition. And in 2017, the CMA targeted similar agreements between Actavis and Concordia to delay competition to hydrocortisone tablets.
Thousands of patients use nortriptyline to relieve symptoms of depression, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says. The drug’s sales peaked at £38 million in 2015.
By Eric Sagonowsky
Source: Fierce Pharma
Big Pharma has long seen the potential for AI and machine learning to accelerate drug development. But Novo Nordisk is going a step further by channeling $200 million toward the creation of a computer that will outrun anything in existence.
Current methods for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease rely on a complex combination of self- and caregiver-reported symptoms, a physical examination and either a PET scan or a spinal tap to look for evidence of amyloid plaque build-ups in the brain. But a new artificial intelligence-based method may make the diagnostic process a much more objective one.
There is lots of talk about diversity and inclusion in business, including in pharma and medtech. A new report by the Open Political Economy Network (OPEN), a think tank focusing on migration and diversity, released its “Minority Businesses Matter: Europe” report highlighting the successes and challenges of ethnic minority-owned businesses in Europe.