Drug company Aspen faces probe over hiking generic prices

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: (Published 18 May 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2417
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London

The European Commission has launched an investigation into increased prices on cancer drugs imposed by Aspen, a South African company.

Aspen acquired five drugs from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in 2009 in a deal worth $2.2bn (then about £1.4bn) in cash and shares. Aspen increased the UK price of busulfan, a leukaemia drug, from £5.20 to £69.02 a pack. Chlorambucil, also used in leukaemia treatments, rose from £8.36 to £42.87.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, said that people depended on drugs “to save or prolong our lives” and that, “when the price of a drug suddenly goes up by several hundred percent, this is something the commission may look at. More specifically, in this case we will be …

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