NHS: Drugs Giant Pfizer Fined Record $106m by U.K.

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The Pfizer logo at the world headquarters in New York. Between 2012 and 2017, Nitrostat, which is sold by Pfizer, increased by 477 percent, from $15.91 to $91.76. Nothing about the drug, which prevents and treats chest pain, changed in those years. Andrew Kelly/Reuters

Pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer has been fined a record £84.2m ($106m) after it was accused of overcharging the U.K. state-run National Health Service (NHS) for an anti-epilepsy drug, resulting in a 2,600 percent price rise.

The U.K.'s competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), issued its biggest ever fine on the company, stating that "extraordinary price rises have cost the NHS and the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds." In addition, the CMA issued a £5.2m ($6.5m) fine to distributor Flynn Pharma for charging excessive and unfair prices in the UK for phenytoin sodium capsules , the BBC reports.

The decision was taken after NHS spending on the anti-epilepsy capsules, used by around 48,000 patients in the U.K., rose dramatically between 2012 and 2013, becoming many times more expensive than in Europe, according to the CMA.

"The companies deliberately exploited the opportunity offered by de-branding to hike up the price for a drug that is relied upon by many thousands of patients, said Philip Marsden, who led the investigation for the CMA. "These extraordinary price rises have cost the NHS and the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds."

Pfizer rejected the CMA's findings and said it would appeal against the decision.

NHS: Drugs Giant Pfizer Fined Record $106m by U.K. | World