Drug firm Aspen has offered to pay the NHS £8m, as part of a wider package, to resolve competition concerns.
This follows an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into suspected anti-competitive arrangements regarding the supply of fludrocortisone acetate 0.1 mg tablets.
It is the first time the CMA will secure such a payment to the NHS in one of its pharmaceutical investigations.
The CMA has been investigating allegations that in 2016 Aspen paid competitors to stay out of the market.
In the resolution package:
- Admission of illegality: Aspen admits it was party to an illegal, anti-competitive agreement, by way of settlement.
- Compensation to address CMA’s concerns: Aspen will commit to pay £8 million to the NHS.
- Restoring competition: Aspen will also commit to ensuring that, in future, there will be at least two suppliers of fludrocortisone in the UK.
- Fine: Aspen will pay a maximum fine of £2.1 million, once the CMA has concluded its investigation, if it reaches a formal decision that the law has been broken. The CMA is continuing its investigation given other companies are involved.
The CMA currently has other, unrelated investigations open in relation to six other pharmaceutical drugs.