Jim Armitage: Let's not scare big pharmaceutical firms off making medicines at allComments Off on Jim Armitage: Let's not scare big pharmaceutical firms off making medicines at all
Generic medicines are supposed to create a world of cheap drugs for all. The theory is, when old treatments go out of patent, rival manufacturers can compete and produce them for less.
But what if a drug goes off patent and nobody wants to copy it?
That’s the tricky situation in Wednesday’s Pfizer case. When its epilepsy drug came off patent, nobody else wanted to make a copycat, leaving Flynn and Pfizer to set their own price.
The CMA says the price they chose was excessive — it certainly seems so on first reading — but the companies say it merely reflects the real cost of manufacturing.
With no functioning market, these decisions are always hard to judge.
The drug companies’ reaction to the CMA certainly says they think the regulator has got this one wrong. We’ll now see a prolonged appeal process.
But at the end of it all, the worst outcome for patients would be a price ruling that stopped the companies making their medicines altogether.