RPS President, Sandra Gidley

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and College of Mental Health Pharmacists (CMHP) have written to the CMA seeking additional reassurances to secure the long-term future of bipolar drug Priadel and prevent similar situations in the future.

As part of the consultation by the Competition Market Authority (CMA) on the supply of Essential Pharma’s drug Priadel, the organisations sought clarification from the competition watchdog on the expiry of new drug price contract and its impact on the patients including vulnerable and disadvantaged.

“We still have some concerns about what may happen after the agreed five-year term which is a short time in the lifetime of a pharmaceutical company. Can we assume there may be a price increase again after five years?,” the letter read.

The letter also argued for a legislation to prevent the repetition of such events in the future, noting that there are “many generic medicines vulnerable to exploitation in this way.”

Sandra Gidley, President of the RPS, said it is essential to get clarity on the drug’s long-term future and reiterated the demand for legislative changes, saying this will “prevent other companies from exploiting patients and ensure that something like this will not happen again.”

Ciara Ni Dhubhlaing, President of the CMPH, said: “We cannot allow patient access to Priadel to be restricted in the future. This will mean thousands of vulnerable individuals are unnecessarily put at risk. It is vital that patients have confidence in the supply chain and ongoing access to their medicines; therefore more needs to be done to ensure the availability of this essential medicine continues.”

In November, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and Essential Pharma agreed for a price cut to ensure that the drug reaches all the patients following the launch of a probe by the CMA over the suspicion that the company may have abused its dominant position in the market to stop the supply of the drug.

In response to the probe, the drug manufacturer paused its the withdrawal process of the drug to ink a deal with the DHSC offering commitments to continue the supply of lithium medication.

If you want to share your stories and/or experiences with us, please send an email to [email protected]