Epanutin capsules were costing the NHS just over £2m a year until Flynn Pharma, a British company, bought the rights to sell the anti-seizure medicine from Pfizer, repackaged it, and raised the price. Now the annual bill will be £46.6m.
The Stevenage-based firm has been able to raise the price by switching it from being a ‘branded’ drug – whose prices are set by industry agreement with the Department of Health – to a ‘generic’ version.
Anyone can make generics and so market forces usually drive prices down.
Interestingly sharp practice there.
The developing drugs part of pharmaceuticals is difficult. The chemistry part of making them not so much. Competition should drive that price down: but competition does require someone else to enter the market and make other generic versions of it.
Or, actually, what would be much simpler. Pfizer manufactures it, this small company has only purchased the rights to retail in the UK. Parallel imports are allowed in the EU. Purchase stock elsewhere, repackage (you\’ll want all the legal and warning guff in English, not German or Spanish or whatever) and pump out to the pharmacies.
So, anyone own a repackaging plant?