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CMA fines pharmaceutical companies £3.4m and secures £1m for the NHS


On 4 March 2020 the Competition and Markets Authority imposed fines of £3.4 million and secured a payment of £1 million to the NHS for two breaches of competition law.  A director of one of the companies also agreed to be disqualified from acting as a company director for seven years.

The first breach of competition law was a secret agreement between two competitors, King Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Auden Mckenzie (Pharma Division) Ltd, to share the supply of nortriptyline tablets to a large pharmaceutical wholesaler in the UK. 

The second breach of competition law was a concerted practice between King, Lexon (UK) Ltd and Alissa Healthcare Research Ltd to exchange commercially sensitive information in order to maintain the price of nortriptyline tablets.

King and Alissa both admitted to breaching competition law and they were fined £75,573 and £174,912 respectively. The third company, Lexon, did not admit any infringement and therefore was fined £1,220,383.

This case is notable as being the second time that the CMA has secured a payment of compensation to the NHS.

The CMA's press release is here.

Marie Demetriou QC and David Bailey advised the Competition and Markets Authority.