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BGMA Statement with regards to the CMA announcement of fines in relation to hydrocortisone tables

“We note the CMA's findings on the supply of hydrocortisone tablets, and we understand that companies will be appealing the decision. Therefore, we cannot comment on individual cases, however, history shows that generic competition consistently provides the NHS with enormous benefits.

“Across the thousands of drugs used to treat patients, generic medicines save the NHS over £15bn a year; around 10% of the Health Service's entire operating budget for England. That is because every 4 in 5 medicines used in the NHS is a generic, and independent review has found generic medicines are on average between 80-90% less than the originator price.

“Since the CMA made its allegation that competition law had been infringed in relation to the supply of hydrocortisone tables, the Government has clarified its powers to review and set the price of any medicine where it believes competition is not working in the interests of the taxpayer. To do this, the Government now receives and analyses quarterly sales and volume data from the whole supply chain including manufacturers, wholesalers and pharmacists. We support these steps and the assurance this provides.

“Going forward, we do believe that the UK's pricing and reimbursement system could be improved and enhanced, so that it better recognises where competition is working and also where there may be fewer manufacturers supplying a medicine, irrespective of whether the drug is prescribed by a brand name or not. We will be seeking to work with the Government and the NHS on this.”