CMA closes investigation into alleged anticompetitive generic drug pricing practices

Owing to a lack of sufficient evidence of lawbreaking, The Competition and Markets Authority has decided to close its investigation into anticompetitive generic drug pricing.

Hand pulling box of medicine from a shelf

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has closed an investigation into alleged anticompetitive generic drug pricing after concluding that the case was not a good use of its resources.

The CMA said the investigation had been looking into “suspected breaches of competition law” relating to a range of drugs.

However, the investigation was closed on 14 November 2018 because the body concluded that continuing with the case “would not be the best use of the CMA’s resources”.

The investigation had focused on potential breaches of the Competition Act 1998, but no details were released onwhich companies or organisations were under investigation.

The investigation was launched on 13 October 2017 at the height of the crisis in the generics market that hit community pharmacy. When it launched, the CMA said in a statement that the investigation related “to alleged anticompetitive agreements and/or concerted practices in relation to generic pharmaceutical products”.

The CMA added that it “had not reached a view on whether there is sufficient evidence of an infringement of competition law for it to issue a statement of objections to the parties under investigation”.

In a summary of its decision to close the investigation on 7 November 2018, the CMA said that although this case was now closed, two of the alleged anticompetitive agreements “in relation to generic pharmaceutical products” were being investigated further as two new cases.

The Pharmaceutical Journal previously revealed in July 2018 that the CMA had opened six new investigations into anticompetitive practices in the pharmaceutical sector at the height of the pricing crisis in the generics market. At the time, it was not clear whether the products involved were generics.

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Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, December 2018, Vol 301, No 7920;301(7920):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20205778