Pharmaceutical Company Leadiant has been fined 20 million euros for abuse of power. André den Exter, Associate Professor of Health Law at Erasmus School of Law, states in articles in the Financieele Dagblad and Trouw that this behaviour is not unique.
Leadiant is the producer of CDCA, a medicine against a rare metabolic disease. The manufacturer has changed the name, packaging and price over the years. Which has led to an increase in price from 46 euros to a staggering 885 euros per package. Nevertheless, the product has not been innovated at all.
Abuse of drug price
The orphan drug status can be applied to medicines specifically designed to cure very rare diseases. When this status is granted, it gives the pharmaceutical company the exclusive right to manufacture and market the drug. The introduction of the orphan drugs status was intended to stimulate the accessibility and production of rare drugs. Unfortunately it has led to very high prices and abuse of power. A high price alone does not necessarily indicate the abuse of power, but it is undoubtedly an indication. Den Exter states that it is up to the Dutch Authority for Consumers & Market (ACM) to investigate the possible abuse of power in the pharmaceutical industry. However, the ACM is dependent on the information that pharmaceutical companies provide them with. By imposing the fine, ACM sends out an important message to pharmaceutical companies that are greedy for profit.