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Advanz, Lexon and others fined over prochlorperazine abuse

Anti-competitive behaviour nets £35m total fine

February 10th 2022

Tagged: political news

By Ailsa Colquhoun

Advanz, private equity firm Cinven, and Lexon, have been fined by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in relation to an arrangement under which a competitor was paid not to launch a product, and which hiked prices by 700 per cent.

From 2013 to 2017, the prices paid by the NHS for prochlorperazine rose from £6.49 per pack of 50 tablets to £51.68, resulting in a £7.5 million bill for the NHS even though dispensing volumes for the drug fell.

The CMA found that, from June 2013 to July 2018, Alliance Pharmaceuticals, Focus (now owned by Advanz, previously owned by the private equity firm Cinven), and Lexon were involved in an arrangement that restricted competition in the supply of prochlorperazine 3mg buccal tablets to the NHS. Another company (Medreich) was involved in the arrangement between February 2014 and February 2018.

Under the arrangement, Alliance Pharmaceuticals appointed Focus as its distributor, and Lexon and Medreich were paid a share of the profits that Focus earned by selling Alliance’s product. In return, Lexon and Medreich agreed not to compete in the supply of these prochlorperazine tablets in the UK.

The CMA has fined the pharmaceutical and private equity firms involved a total of over £35 million for the relevant periods in which they broke the law.

Advanz and Cinven have filed appeals in the Competition Appeal Tribunal against other CMA decisions, in which they have been fined.