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Actavis hiked price of hormone replacement drug 12,000%, says CMA

Staff Writer |
A regulatory body has accused Actavis UK of breaking competition law by hiking the price of a hormone replacement drug by 12,000% to the NHS.

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The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) provisionally ruled that Actavis hiked the price of 10mg hydrocortisone tablets by over 12,000% compared to its pharmaceutical peers before April 2008.

By March this year, the price of a 10mg tablet soared from 70p in April 2008 to £88. The price of 20mg tablets also jumped by almost 9,500%.

In total, rocketing hydrocortisone tablets cost the NHS about £70m in 2015, up from £522,000.

Hydrocortisone treats people who do not produce enough steroid hormones such as those with Addison's disease.

Andrew Groves, CMA's senior responsible officer, said: "This is a lifesaving drug relied on by thousands of patients, which the NHS has no choice but to continue purchasing. We allege that the company has taken advantage of this situation and the removal of the drug from price regulation, leaving the NHS - and ultimately the taxpayer - footing the bill for the substantial price rises."

He stressed that the CMA's findings are provisional and no conclusion should be drawn at this stage that there has in fact been any breach of competition law.

He added: "The CMA will carefully consider any representations of the parties under investigation before determining whether the law has been infringed."

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