CMA formally concludes fludrocortisone investigation

Image of a briefcase and papers to show CMA formally concludes fludrocortisone investigation

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has formally concluded its fludrocortison investigation and found that three pharmaceutical companies took part in an illegal arrangement in relation to the supply of life-saving medicine.

The investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority into the supply of fludrocortisone, a pharmaceutical drug that is relied upon by thousands of patients, has resulted in fines totalling almost £2.3m and a payment of £8m directly to the NHS.

Fludrocortisone is a prescription-only medicine mainly used to treat primary or secondary adrenal insufficiency, commonly known as Addison’s Disease. It is paid for by the NHS and so ultimately by UK taxpayers.

The CMA has found that the pharmaceutical companies Amilco and Tiofarma agreed to stay out of the fludrocortisone market so that Aspen could maintain its position as the sole supplier in the UK.

In exchange, Amilco received a 30% share of the increased prices that Aspen was able to charge, and Tiofarma was given the right to be the sole manufacturer of the drug for direct sale in the UK.

Following the agreement, the price of fludrocortisone supplied to the NHS increased by up to 1800%.

All three companies involved in the agreement – Aspen, Tiofarma, and Amilco – have now admitted to taking part in an anti-competitive agreement regarding the supply of fludrocortisone tablets.

The CMA has also now levied fines totalling just under £2.3m for this illegal behaviour.

As well as the fines, Aspen approached the CMA last year and agreed to pay the NHS £8m to help resolve the CMA’s competition concerns in relation to fludrocortisone. This payment has now been made.

Find out more about the the investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority into the supply of fludrocortisone on the CMA case page. The investigation was opened by the CMA in October 2017 and the Infringement Decision has now been issued and the settlement announced.