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Business & Regulation Standards & Regulation, Business Practice, Small Molecules

High Fines for High Prices

Advanz Pharma has been fined over £100 million by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for charging “excessive and unfair” prices for tablets used to treat thyroid hormone deficiency (1). From 2007 to 2017, the price of liothyronine tablets in Britain rose by more than 6,000 percent. Once the prices became unsustainable for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), the medicine was added to a “drop list,” leaving many patients unable to access the treatment.

The CMA says that Advanz was able to sustain its progressive price inflation “because liothyronine tablets were among a number of drugs that, although genericised, faced limited or no competition and therefore could sustain repeated price increases… The price increases were not driven by any meaningful innovation or investment, volumes remained broadly stable, and the cost of producing the tablets did not increase significantly.”

In 2006, the NHS spent around £600,000 per year on the drug. By 2016, it was spending more than £30 million.

Advanz says it will appeal the decision.

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  1. Competition and Markets Authority (2021). Available at

About the Author

Stephanie Sutton

Making great scientific magazines isn’t just about delivering knowledge and high quality content; it’s also about packaging these in the right words to ensure that someone is truly inspired by a topic. My passion is ensuring that our authors’ expertise is presented as a seamless and enjoyable reading experience, whether in print, in digital or on social media. I’ve spent seven years writing and editing features for scientific and manufacturing publications, and in making this content engaging and accessible without sacrificing its scientific integrity. There is nothing better than a magazine with great content that feels great to read.

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