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Liothyronine tablets: suspected excessive and unfair pricing

Competition Markets Authority

July 29
06:02 2021

Case timetable

Date Action
29 July 2021 Infringement Decision issued: unfair pricing abuse in relation to Liothyronine tablets
July 2020 Supplementary statement of objections issued
June 2019 High Court judgment rejecting Advanz Pharmas judicial review application
January 2019 Supplementary statement of objections issued
November 2017 Statement of objections issued
November 2017 Decision whether to proceed with the investigation
May 2017 Decision to proceed with the investigation
October 2016 to April 2017 Initial investigation, information gathering, including issuance of formal or information requests and parties responses. CMA analysis and review of parties responses to information requests. Potential state of play meetings with parties under investigation
October 2016 Investigation opened

Change log

The following changes have been made since the case was opened in October 2016:

Date of change Reason for change Change made to
July 2020 Decision to issue supplementary statement of objections Date of issue of supplementary statement of objections
June 2019 Advanz brought judicial review proceedings; the High Court rejected its application Date of judgment and explanation of the decision
January 2019 Decision to issue supplementary statement of objections Date of issue of supplementary statement of objections
January 2018 Decision to focus investigation exclusively on liothyronine and de-prioritise investigation into another product Focussing of investigation exclusively on liothyronine
16 October 2017 Additional time for evidence gathering and analysis Date of decision on whether or not to proceed with the investigation extended from September 2017 to November 2017
20 March 2017 Additional time for evidence gathering and analysis Date of decision on whether or not to proceed with the investigation extended from April 2017 to May 2017
20 January 2017 Additional time for evidence gathering and analysis Date of decision on whether or not to proceed with the investigation extended from February to April 2017

Infringement decision

29 July 2021: The CMA has found competition law breaches in relation to the supply of 20mcg Liothyronine tablets in the UK.

Supplementary statement of objections

On 10 July, the CMA issued a supplementary statement of objections. The statement addresses issues arising from the Court of Appeals judgment of 10 March 2020 in the phenytoin litigation a case which relates to excessive and unfair pricing in the pharmaceuticals sector.

The CMA continues provisionally to find that Advanz Pharma breached UK and EU competition law from at least 1 January 2009 to at least 31 July 2017 by charging excessive and unfair prices for Liothyronine tablets in the UK.

High court ruling on Advanz Pharmas judicial review application

On 5 March 2019, Advanz Pharma applied to the High Court for a judicial review of the CMAs decision not to suspend the next procedural step in its investigation into excessive and unfair pricing for liothyronine tablets. On 13 June, the High Court dismissed Advanzs application, enabling the CMA to continue with its investigation.

Supplementary statement of objections

On 30 January 2019, the CMA issued a supplementary statement of objections revising certain aspects of its provisional findings in the statement of objections.

Through this supplementary update, the CMA has slightly altered its investigation period, provisionally finding that Advanz Pharma (formerly Concordia) breached UK and EU competition law from at least 1 January 2009 to at least 31 July 2017 by charging excessive and unfair prices for Liothyronine tablets in the UK.

Between January 2009 and July 2017, the price paid by the NHS for liothyronine tablets rose from 15.15 to 258.19, a rise of 1,605%, while production costs remained broadly stable. During that period, Advanz was the only supplier of liothyronine tablets in the UK.

Statement of objections

On 21 November 2017 the CMA issued a statement of objections alleging that Concordia has breached UK and EU competition law by charging excessive and unfair prices in relation to the supply of liothyronine tablets in the UK.

Notes

  • The investigation is under Chapter II of the Competition Act 1998 (CA98).
  • No conclusion should be drawn that there has been an infringement of competition law at this stage and the recipients of the supplementary statement of objections will now have a further opportunity to respond to the allegations.
  • The CMA will consider any representations it receives before any decision is taken as to whether competition law has in fact been infringed.
  • Further detail of the CMAs procedures in Competition Act 1998 cases is available here: CMAs procedures in Competition Act 1998 cases.
  • Changes to the timing of original entries in the case timetable will be made where the estimated timing changes.

Contacts

Assistant Director

Paul Dean (0203 738 6693, paul.dean@cma.gov.uk)

Director

Ronan Flanagan (020 3738 6142, ronan.flanagan@cma.gov.uk)

Senior Responsible Officer

Geoff Steadman (020 3738 6311, geoff.steadman@cma.gov.uk)

Published 25 October 2016
Last updated 29 July 2021 +show all updates
  1. The CMA has found competition law breaches in relation to the supply of 20mcg Liothyronine tablets in the UK.

  2. Supplementary statement of objectives published.

  3. A supplementary statement of objections has been issued and details about it have been added to the case page.

  4. Statement of objections issued.

  5. Timetable updated.

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