Drugmaker fined for overcharging for medicine

Drugmaker fined for overcharging for medicine

Spain’s competition watchdog announced Monday it has fined Italian pharmaceutical firm Leadiant 10.2 million euros ($10.6 million) for selling a drug against a rare disease at an excessive price.

The National Commission for Markets and Competition, or CNMC, said the company had abused its dominant position as the only supplier in Spain of the only medication available in the country to treat Cerebrotendinous Xanthomatosis (CTX), a rare genetic disease.

There are fewer than 50 people in Spain who suffer from the disease and who must take the medication for life, according to the watchdog.

Leadiant had the exclusive rights to sell the active ingredient on which the drug is based and was charging Spain’s national health system 14 times the price of an “essentially identical” treatment it sold in the country until 2010, it added.

In addition to slapping Leadiant with the fine, the watchdog also ordered it to market the drug in Spain “at a non-excessive price” that will be negotiated with the health ministry.

Last year, Leadiant was fined 20 million euros in the Netherlands for charging an excessive price for the same medication.

The price jumped from 46 euros for 100 pills in 2008 to nearly 14,000 euros in 2019, according to the Dutch competition watchdog. (AFP)