Drug firms collude to defraud the Health Services.

Prochlorperazine should be dirt cheap. At the old price of 10p each it was expensive, and now at 70p each it is astronomic. The drug has existed since I qualified, and no amount of increase in ingredient cost, or production process can justify this opportunity. The purchasing power of the English Health Service, ( as opposed to the other 3) is so great that all they need is good procurement management and supervision. It does not exist, just like exit interviews.

Other more expensive anti-nauseants are subject of much controversy already.

Billy Kember reports in the Times 24th May 2019: Firms ‘colluded’ to boost cost of drug for cancer sufferers

Four drug companies have been accused of colluding to force up the price of a medicine commonly taken by cancer patients by 700 per cent, costing the NHS millions.

The cost of prochlorperazine 3mg tablets, which are used to treat nausea and often prescribed to chemotherapy patients, rose from £6.49 for a packet of 50 to more than £51 between 2014 and 2018. This cost the NHS an extra £5 million in 2018 alone.

In 2013, Alliance Pharma sold the licence to market the drug exclusively to Focus Pharmaceuticals. It continued to manufacture the medicine and supply it to Focus at a fixed price.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that two other companies, Lexon and Medreich, had been working on versions of the medicine. Medreich obtained a licence in January 2014 but did not begin selling its rival drug until late 2017. Instead, Focus agreed to pay Lexon a share of its profits from the medicine, which Lexon in turn shared with Medreich.

The CMA’s ruling is provisional and the companies can respond before a final decision. The anti-nausea medicine was among more than 70 drugs named in an investigation by The Times into a loophole in NHS pricing rules.

Alliance Pharma said it “has had no involvement in the pricing or distribution of prochlorperazine since 2013”. It said that it had not influenced or benefited from any price increases.

Advanz Pharma, formerly Concordia International, said some of the price rises dated from before it owned Focus. It said it did not believe that competition law had been infringed.

Cinven, which acquired Focus in October 2014 and sold it a year later, declined to comment.

Lexon and Medreich did not respond to requests for comment.

The Health Services Procurement – inefficient and risky… Centralisation and management control is needed

Image result for big pharma cartoon

There is more money spent on “lobbying” by Big Pharma than on Public Health consultants…

Trying to force the ethical and philosophical debate – Big Pharma and the Cancer Drugs Fund

Orkambi and Yescarta are merely illustrating an ethical problem that will get bigger into the future… Political dishonesty and denial stall a solution.

This entry was posted in A Personal View, Commissioning, Post Code Lottery, Professionals, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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