CMA launches investigation into rising cost of antibiotics amid Strep A outbreak
The rising prices of antibiotics amid an outbreak of Strep A in the UK has raised concerns with the UK’s competition watchdog.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation into the price rises today.
Some pharmacies have reported being charged up to £19 for a box of drugs that normally costs a few pounds – costing many branches thousands each week.
Drug companies have been accused of hiking prices amid the outbreak.
A CMA spokesperson said: “People have got real concerns about the price of antibiotics used to treat Strep A, and we want companies to be clear about their obligations under the law.
“There should be no doubt that it is illegal for a dominant company to charge excessive prices, or for any companies to collude to drive up prices.
“We are working to establish the facts of what is currently happening in the market and welcome new information as part of our work.”
Pharmacists have also complained that the supply of antibiotics has “gone from bad to worse” in the past week.
The Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMP) today called the situation “unacceptable” and urged the government to put a plan in place.
A costly and weak supply of antibiotics means many parents are forced to go from pharmacy to pharmacy trying to find drugs for poorly children.
Last week, health secretary Steve Barclay said there was no shortage of antibiotics and stock could be moved around if any particular area was experiencing problems with supply.
But on Monday, the Department of Health issued a medicine supply notification for antibiotics for the treatment of Strep A.
It said: “Supplies of antibiotics for the treatment of Group A Strep have seen a surge in demand and may be temporarily in limited supply at certain wholesalers and pharmacies.
“Supplies are available with manufacturers, and deliveries into wholesalers and pharmacies are being expedited and are expected in the coming days.”