Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Generics and eeking out price rises

With the repurposing Bill failing to get Government support, we can hark back to the debate as one Conservative MP asked. What is to stop the price rising?

The answer it seems is an issue in the USA where pharma can't resist gouging the price. (CLICK HERE)

"prescription drug prices fall significantly over time and that generics typically cost 80% less than the brand"

This is for small molecules not biologicals
“prices of generics can still be very high, because whoever controls the supply can set whatever price they want”

" until there are at least four generic providers that Americans feel the benefits of having a generic drug on the market".

There are many ways that pharma justify hiking drug prices here is one they tried and may be relevant as phenytonin was found to be neuroprotective in optic neuritis/MS (Click here)

The Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) provisional view is that Pfizer and Flynn Pharma each abused a dominant position by charging excessive and unfair prices in the UK for phenytoin sodium capsules, an anti-epilepsy drug, in breach of UK and EU competition law.
Phenytoin sodium capsules are used in the treatment of epilepsy in order to prevent and control seizures and are an important drug for over 50,000 patients in the UK. Pfizer manufactures phenytoin sodium capsules and supplies them to Flynn Pharma, which then distributes them to UK wholesalers and pharmacies. The statement of objections concerns both the prices that Pfizer has charged to Flynn Pharma and the prices that Flynn Pharma has charged to its customers, since September 2012.
Prior to September 2012, Pfizer manufactured and sold phenytoin sodium capsules to UK wholesalers and pharmacies under the brand name Epanutin®. Pfizer sold the UK distribution rights for Epanutin® to Flynn Pharma, which de-branded (or genericised) the drug and started selling its version in September 2012. Pfizer continued to manufacture the drug, which it sold to Flynn at prices that were significantly higher than those at which it had previously sold Epanutin® in the UK – between 8 and 17 times Pfizer’s historic prices. Flynn then sold the drug on to customers at prices which were between 25 and 27 times higher than those historically charged by Pfizer.
Prior to September 2012, the NHS spent approximately £2.3 million on phenytoin sodium capsules annually. This spend (paid to Flynn and other suppliers of phenytoin sodium capsules) was just over £50 million in 2013 and over £40 million in 2014.
However if the price rise was set in the hypothetcical "repurposing drug act" then it would be transparent and pharma would not gets its wrists smacked for delivering generics. 
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