Friday, 19 April 2013

'Supporting fair competition'



          STOP PRESS!

This is a quote from Reuters (I love the sound of that), it illustrates how multi-national drug companies are alleged to rip-off our NHS.

GSK had patents on a drug which were due to run out. When that happens, other drug companies make cheaper copies which the NHS buys for us instead. It’s like supermarkets own brands.

GSK are alleged to have offered ‘bribes’ to those companies to postpone selling us the cheap copies.

The allegation is that when this drug’s patent ran out it was three years before cheap copies were available. During that time GSK made £100million a year, which they otherwise wouldn’t have made and which we paid for;

LONDON (Reuters) - The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) accused GlaxoSmithKline of market abuse for striking deals with three generic drugmakers that paid them to delay launching cheap copies of its antidepressant Seroxat.

GSK, Britain's biggest drugmaker, said it believed it had acted lawfully. If it is found to have broken the law, it could be fined up to 10 percent of its worldwide turnover, which amounted to 26.4 billion pounds in 2012.

The move by the OFT is the latest example of regulators trying to curb "pay-for-delay" deals, following a series of investigations against drug companies by U.S. and European antitrust officials.

The OFT alleged on Friday that GSK concluded anti-competitive agreements with Alpharma, Generics (UK) and Norton Healthcare over the supply of paroxetine - a top-selling medicine sold by GSK under the brand name Seroxat.

The case relates to deals struck a decade ago. The patents protecting paroxetine - known as Paxil in the United States - have now expired and the supply agreements under investigation were terminated in 2004.

The OFT said the agreements included substantial payments from GSK to the generic companies in return for their commitment to delay launching their products. This amounted to an abuse of GSK's dominant market position, it said.

GSK disputes the allegations, which relate to deals that were effective between 2001 and 2004.

"GSK supports fair competition and we very strongly believe that we acted within the law," the company said, adding that the deals resulted in generic versions of paroxetine entering the market before GSK's patents expired.

GSK also said the paroxetine case had been reviewed by the European Commission in 2005-2006 and the EU body, which acts as antitrust regulator, formally concluded its inquiry last year with no further action.

"The introduction of generic medicines can lead to strong competition on price, which can drive savings for the NHS, to the benefit of patients and, ultimately, taxpayers," said Ann Pope, senior director of services, infrastructure and public markets at the OFT.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler, Editing by Erica Billingham)

Oh and when I say ‘alleged’, what I really meant to say was;


       BOOK ‘EM DANNO !

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

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