Aspen commits to rectifying concerns over anti-competitive conduct in UK

14th August 2019 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Creamer Media Online Writer

JSE-listed Aspen Pharmacare Holdings has reached resolutions in its dealings with the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) over an investigation into alleged anticompetitive conduct by Aspen.

The matter relates to Aspen’s supply of Fludrocortisone acetate 0.1 mg tablets and Dexamethasone 2 mg tablets in the UK.

Aspen on Wednesday said the CMA had advised the company that it would not proceed with its investigation into Aspen’s supply of Dexamethasone.

However, in relation to the Fludrocortisone, Aspen has offered commitments to the CMA to address the competition concerns that arose from the CMA’s investigation.

Aspen will dispose of its rights to the ambient Fludrocortisone in the UK to an independent third party. The company will also reintroduce cold-storage Fludrocortisone into the UK market.

These processes will be overseen by the CMA.

Further, Aspen will make an ex-gratia payment of £8-million, which comprises £6.4-million to the Secretary of State for health and social care, £788 000 to Scottish Ministers, £455 200 to Welsh Ministers and £271 200 for the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety of Northern Ireland.

According to Aspen, the CMA had indicated its intention to accept the commitments.

Aspen said in a statement that the commitments did not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by Aspen around anticompetitive conduct under Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

However, in terms of Aspen’s alleged anticompetitive conduct under Article 101 of the TFEU, the CMA and Aspen have entered into settlement discussions.

Within the context that Aspen historically had the only Fludrocortisone in the UK, Aspen has admitted liability for entering into an agreement to acquire a potential competitor Fludrocortisone, with the consequence that the conclusion of this agreement resulted in anticompetitive behaviour.

Pursuant to Aspen’s aforesaid admission, the CMA will impose a penalty on Aspen for an infringement under Article 101 of the TFEU which will not exceed £2.1-million.

“The commitments offered by Aspen and the settlement discussions being undertaken between the CMA and Aspen reflect the group’s willingness to address the concerns raised by competition authorities into alleged anticompetitive conduct by Aspen.

“The group remains committed to the resolution of other outstanding investigations in the interest of patients,” Aspen said.