On 3 October 2019 the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued a Statement of Objections (the “SO”) to three pharmaceutical companies over pay-for-delay agreements in the market for Addison's disease treatment.
In its SO the CMA sets out its provisional view that, in 2016, pharmaceutical company Aspen unlawfully agreed to pay 2 other firms, Amilco and Tiofarma, to stay out of the UK market for fludrocortisone acetate tablets. This medicine is used to treat adrenal insufficiency, commonly known as Addison's disease. The CMA alleges Tiofarma and Amilco colluded with Aspen by agreeing to stay out of the market so that Aspen could maintain its position as the sole UK supplier of fludrocortisone. In exchange, it is alleged that Tiofarma was made the sole manufacturer of fludrocortisone for direct sale in the UK, and Amilco received a 30% share of the increased prices that Aspen was able to charge.
The SO follows Aspen's admission, in August 2019 (on which we earlier reported in our newsletter here), that it took part in this allegedly anticompetitive arrangement. If the CMA would ultimately conclude that there has been an infringement, Aspen has also agreed under this admission to pay a maximum financial penalty of £2.1 million. Amilco and Tiofarma have made no such admission.