Two of three companies under investigation have now admitted illegally taking part in an agreement that resulted in significant price hikes for an essential medicine, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) revealed.

Tiofarma has admitted that it took part in an agreement that contributed to the price of fludrocortisone acetate tablets supplied to the NHS increasing by up to 1800 per cent.

The regulator, in October 2019, provisionally found that Aspen, Tiofarma and Amilco had broken the law.

Aspen had already admitted its part in the agreement which may result in a £2.1 million fine while Tiofarma now agreed to pay a maximum fine of £186,000 if there is a formal final decision that the law has been broken.

The agreement involved Tiofarma and Amilco staying out of the UK fludrocortisone market so that Aspen could maintain its position as the sole UK supplier.

In exchange, Tiofarma was given the right to be the sole manufacturer of the drug for direct sale in the UK, and Amilco received a 30 per cent of the increased prices that Aspen was able to charge, according to CMA provisional findings.

However, Amilco has not made the admission of liability so far. CMA said its probe is ongoing.

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