Italian drugs maker fined €20m by Dutch for hiking drug price


Italian drug maker Leadiant has been fined nearly €20m by Dutch competition regulator ACM for jacking up the price of a drug used to treat a rare metabolic disorder by more than 6000%.

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets announced on Tuesday that it would fine the Pomezia-based pharmaceutical company €19.6m for repeatedly increasing the price of the drug CDCA since it acquired the patent in 2008.

When Leadiant purchased the rights to the treatment for cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis, the medication sold for €46 for 100 capsules. In 2009, the company released the same drug under a new name, raising the price to €885 for 100 capsules. In 2019, Leadiant obtained the exclusive rights to sell the drug and the price skyrocketed to €14,000 for 100 capsules, a 6645.65% increase over the price ten years earlier.

‘After a small, low-risk investment, Leadiant implemented a huge price increase for a drug that had already existed for years. In this case, there was no innovation at all. We consider this to be a very serious violation,’ Martijn Snoep, chairman of the board of ACM said in a statement.

Some 60 people in the Netherlands suffer from the rare hereditary disease which prevents the body from breaking down fats. Untreated, the build-up of lipids causes brain damage and even death. CDCA helps the body properly breakdown the fats and patients will use it for their entire lives.

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