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Generics price fixing case nears closure as SFO appeal is refused

Operation Holbein — the six-year investigation by the Serious Fraud Office into allegationsof conspiracy to defraud the NHS of an alleged £2bn by fixing the priceof generic drugs has drawn a step nearer closure

Operation Holbein — the six-year investigation by the Serious Fraud Office into allegations of conspiracy to defraud the NHS of an alleged £2bn by fixing the price of generic drugs has drawn a step nearer closure.

The Court of Appeal has refused the SFO leave to appeal against an earlier ruling in the case, bringing to an end the prosecution, the SFO confirmed in a statement.

It said it would consider the implications of the decision by the court “in due course when it receives the reasoned judgment”.

The SFO announced in July 2008 that it was going to the Court of Appeal after the failure of its legal application to amend its indictment against Goldshield Group — one of the five drug companies involved in the allegations of price fixing.

That application was thrown out by Mr Justice Pitchford at Southwark Crown Court the same month on the grounds that it was inappropriate for him to consider the application since it should be made to the Court of Appeal.

The SFO had wanted the indictment amended following an earlier decision by the law lords that price fixing alone did not amount to conspiracy to defraud.

In a statement confirming the latest Court of Appeal decision the Goldshield Group said: “The decision marks the close of a period of six years during which the allegations have been hanging over the company.”

Chairman Keith Hellawell added: “We are delighted by this decision. It provides the company with certainty that the allegations are now in the past and allows us to focus on driving the business forward.”

Generics UK settles in Scotland

NHS Scotland has reached a settlement with Generics (UK) Ltd over its alleged price-fixing of generic drugs during the 1990s. The company is to pay £2.31m in compensation to the Scottish Government and Scottish health boards on a full and final basis, and without admission of liability.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10043402

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