The Competition and Markets Authority(CMA) has disqualified a former director of the pharmaceutical wholesaler Lexon for allegedly breaking competition law.
Pritesh Sonpal — who has been accused of illegally sharing commercially sensitive information with competitors — will not be allowed to take up any director role or be involved in the management of any company based in England, Scotland or Wales for four years.
The CMA in March 2020 found that Lexon – along with the pharmaceutical companies King Pharmaceuticals and Alissa Healthcare Research – illegally shared commercially sensitive information about the antidepressant nortriptyline, used by thousands of NHS patients, to inflate the price.
Lexon was fined £1.2 million for breaking competition law.
The government watchdog said between 2015 and 2017, when the cost of the drug was falling, the three companies exchanged information about prices, the volumes they were supplying and Alissa’s plans to enter the market, in order to reduce competition.
Lexon’s appeal against the CMA’s decision was upheld by the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) upheld in February 2021.
According to CMA, Sonpal has accepted the CAT’s findings that his actions caused Lexon to participate in the illegal exchange of sensitive commercial information.
Lexon has chosen not to comment of Sonpal’s disqualification.