UK regulators have fined Pfizer $14,000 for failing to explain a questionable claim meant to justify price increases on the generic seizure medication Epanutin.
The nominal fine assigned last week by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority stems from an investigation after Pfizer raised the price for Epanutin up to 17 times over its historical asking price in 2012. This led the UK’s National Health Service to spend between $56 million and $70 million for the drug in 2013 and 2014, versus $3.26 million in 2011.
At a CMA hearing in January, a Pfizer representative tried to justify the price increase by claiming that the drug can be substituted for competing medications in 2 percent to 5 percent of patients. When CMA officials pressed Pfizer for corroborating evidence, the company conceded that it was “an internal estimate provided by the business” and insisted that it has “no additional internal data” to substantiate it.