Drug companies under the microscope

First it was the milk companies. Then the bread companies. Now the pharmaceutical companies are set to face the wrath of the Competition Commission for fixing the price of drugs sold to State and private hospitals.

The department of health, the largest buyer of supplies from pharmaceutical companies, plans to review its procurement relations with the companies in light of recent revelations.The private hospital industry also plans to investigate all its purchases, starting from the date the commission initiated its investigation.

After a three-year investigation the Competition Commission has uncovered that a cartel had clandestine meetings and phone conversations to discuss prices to be set for pharmaceutical and hospital products that had been put up for tender.

The cartel apparently consists of Adcock Ingram Critical Care, Dismed Criticare, Thusanong Health Care and Fresenius Kabi SA (FKSA)The pharmaceutical firms are also accused of colluding on who would win tenders put out by the department of health for supplies to public hospitals. FKSA has made a full confession to the commission.

Source : www.iol.co.za

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