U.K. Drugmakers Fined $360 Million for Over Billing NHS

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A clutch of U.K. drug companies have been fined 260 million pounds ($360 million) for colluding to overcharge the U.K.’s National Health Service by as much as 10,000% for hydrocortisone tablets.

Auden McKenzie and Actavis U.K., now known as Accord U.K. Ltd., bought off potential rivals to stay out of the market to drive up the price of the drug, used to treat adrenal insufficiency, the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority said in a statement on Thursday.

“These are without doubt some of the most serious abuses we have uncovered in recent years,” CMA chief Andrea Coscelli said in the statement. “The actions of these firms cost the NHS - and therefore taxpayers - hundreds of millions of pounds.”

Auden McKenzie was bought by the entity then known as Actavis in 2015. Accord is “very disappointed by the CMA’s decision” and intends to appeal the decision, a spokesperson for the company said by email.

“Having only inherited the product in January 2017, we have done nothing but continuously reduce the price in the face of significant competition,” the spokesperson said. “We maintain that the case against Accord Healthcare is flawed legally and in respect of material facts.”

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