THE Office of Fair Trading yesterday said Reckitt Benckiser may be deliberately abusing its dominance in the supply of heartburn medicines, adding to the National Health Service’s (NHS) vast drugs bill.
The watchdog alleged Reckitt sought to limit choice during the prescription process and said it would await the company’s response before determining whether the law had been broken. “This choice provides for strong price competition between pharmaceutical suppliers and results in considerable savings to the NHS,” the OFT said in a statement. Reckitt said it believed all its operations competed fairly and legally.
The consumer protection body said Reckitt delisted Gaviscon Original Liquid from the NHS prescription database, meaning that when doctors searched for the product under its brand name the system failed to supply the potentially cheaper generic name. The Statement of Objections effectively puts a company on notice when the watchdog believes there has been an infringement of competition rules and gives it an opportunity to respond before a final decision is reached. Reckitt said it believed all its operations competed fairly and legally.
City A.M. Reporter