Hydrocortisone tablets: alleged excessive and unfair pricing, anti-competitive agreements and abusive conduct (50277)

The CMA is investigating alleged excessive and unfair pricing, anti-competitive agreements and abusive conduct with respect to hydrocortisone tablets under Chapters I and II CA98 and Articles 101 and 102 TFEU.

Case reference: 50277

Case timetable

Date Action
February 2020 Supplementary statement of objections issued

Supplementary statement of objections

On 12 February 2020, the CMA issued a supplementary statement of objections in relation to its hydrocortisone investigations.

The CMA has been conducting three separate investigations into alleged excessive and unfair pricing, anti-competitive agreements and abusive conduct in relation to the supply of hydrocortisone tablets in the UK. The CMA issued statements of objections in relation to those investigations in:

Due to the interrelationship of the facts and allegations in the three hydrocortisone investigations, the CMA brought them together and revised certain aspects of its provisional findings in the respective statements of objections, including taking account of further evidence which has been obtained since the original statements of objections were issued, through this supplementary update.

The CMA continues to allege that:

  • Auden Mckenzie and its successor Accord-UK (previously known as Actavis UK) charged excessive and unfair prices for 10mg and 20mg hydrocortisone tablets between October 2008 and July 2018
  • Auden Mckenzie entered into an anti-competitive agreement with Waymade with respect to 20mg hydrocortisone tablets which maintained Auden Mckenzie’s dominance and ability to charge high prices
  • Auden Mckenzie entered into an anti-competitive agreement with Waymade and later Advanz Pharma (previously known as Concordia and before that AMCo) with respect to 10mg hydrocortisone tablets. The agreement continued between Actavis UK and Advanz Pharma after Actavis UK took over the business of supplying 10mg hydrocortisone tablets from Auden Mckenzie. The agreement maintained Auden Mckenzie’s and later Actavis UK’s dominance and ability to charge high prices
  • These anti-competitive agreements also constitute an abuse of its dominant position by Auden Mckenzie and Actavis UK

The CMA continues to take the provisional view that liability for Auden Mckenzie’s alleged infringements is attributable to its economic successor Accord-UK (previously known as Actavis UK) and that liability is attributable to Allergan plc as the former parent company of Auden Mckenzie and Actavis UK, to Cinven as the former parent company of Advanz Pharma, and to Accord Pharmaceuticals and Intas as the current parent company of Accord-UK. They would only be liable for their respective periods of ownership.

Notes

  • The investigation is under Chapter II of the Competition Act 1998 (CA98) and Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and Chapter I CA98 and Article 101 TFEU
  • No conclusion should be drawn that there has been an infringement of competition law at this stage and the recipients of the supplementary statement of objections will now have an opportunity to respond to the allegations
  • The CMA will consider any representations it receives before any decision is taken as to whether competition law has in fact been infringed
  • Further detail of the CMA’s procedures in Competition Act 1998 cases is available in CMA’s procedures in Competition Act 1998 cases
  • Changes to the timing of original entries in the case timetable will be made where the estimated timing changes

Contacts

Assistant Directors

Karina Kucaidze (020 3738 6730, karina.kucaidze@cma.gov.uk)

Neil Maxey-Branch (020 3738 6956, neil.maxey@cma.gov.uk)

Director

Andrew Groves (020 3738 6927, andrew.groves@cma.gov.uk)

Senior Responsible Officer

Michael Grenfell (020 3738 6134, michael.grenfell@cma.gov.uk)

Published 12 February 2020