UK watchdog fines Advanz after 6,000% thyroid drug price hike

July 30, 2021

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), UK’s competition watchdog, has hit Advanz Pharma and its former private equity owners with more than $139M worth of fines, after the drugmaker was found to have inflated the price of its thyroid tablets by up to 6,000%.

The regulator found that the London-based Advanz Pharma (formerly known as Concordia) charged “excessive and unfair prices” for liothyronine tablets, which are used to treat thyroid hormone deficiency. The CMA said that between 2007 and 2017, the price paid by the National Health Service for the tablets rose from £4.46 to £258.19, a rise of almost 6,000%, while production costs remained broadly stable.

According to the Guardian, thousands of patients were denied access to the medication and had to travel abroad to buy it or hunt for cheaper tablets over the internet, after price rises imposed by Advanz Pharma led to restrictions on prescriptions.

Advanz will be fined almost $57M and two of its former private equity owners – Hg Capital and Cinven – will pay penalties of ~$12M and ~$72M respectively.