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Price increase after ‘debranding’ of branded products

I write in response to the news item ‘UK competition body accuses drug firms of excessive pricing of phenytoin capsules’ (The Pharmaceutical Journal 2015;295:136) and Mark Burdon’s letter regarding ‘Debranding of branded products’ (The Pharmaceutical Journal 2015;295:83). Perhaps the competition and markets authority should also look into the massive increases in the price of certain products following the discontinuation of the branded product and introduction of a generic equivalent.

Listed below are a few products that have had several-fold increases in price after the proprietary version has been discontinued (from Drug Tariff August 2013 and August 2015; compared prices of August 2013 versus August 2015):

  • Amantadine 100mg capsules (56) (from £9.90 to £39.90);
  • Amantadine 10mg/ml oral solution (150ml) (from £5.33 to £122.09);
  • Chlortalidone 50mg tablets (28) (from £1.64 to £88)
  • Chloral betaine 707mg tablets (30) (from £12.10 to £124.32)
  • Fusidic acid 1% m/r eye drops (5g) (from £2.09 to £19.40)
  • Nitrofurantoin 50mg capsules (30) (from £3.66 to £15.42)

I would also be interested to hear the thoughts of both the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee and the Department of Health on this matter, especially given the unprecedented squeeze in public sector funding and the potential increase in the NHS drugs bill these changes will cause.

Ben Merriman

Barrow-in-Furness,

Cumbria

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20069195

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