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Pharmaceutical Company Advanz Fined after Thyroid Drug Price Hike 

The Competition and Markets Authority has imposed fines of more than £100m on the Pharmaceutical Company Advanz and its former private equity owners after it was found to have increased the price of its thyroid tablets by up to 6,000%.An investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority found that the private-equity-backed pharmaceutical company charged excessive and unfair prices for liothyronine tablets, which are used to treat thyroid hormone deficiency.

Pharmaceutical Company Advanz took advantage of limited competition in the market from 2007 to bring in sustained price hikes for the drug, often used by patients with depression and fatigue, of more than 6,000% in the space of 10 years. The reiterated price rises led NHS spending on tablets to soar from £600,000 in 2006 before the price increase strategy was implemented to more than £2.3m by 2009 and as much as £30m by 2016.

The liothyronine tablets were placed on the NHS drop list in July 2015, causing many people who are dependent on the drug to face the prospect of having their treatment stopped or having to purchase it at their own expense.The Competition and Markets Authority said this was concerning because many patients do not respond well to the main treatment for hypothyroidism, levothyroxine tablets, and rely on liothyronine to treat their extreme fatigue and depression.

Pharmaceutical Company Advanz will be fined almost £41m, and two of its former private equity owners HgCapital and Cinven will pay penalties of £8.6m and £51.9m, respectively.He said the Competition and Markets Authority’s £100m fine and other work in the pharmaceutical sector would send a clear message that breaking the law has serious consequences.

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