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NHS sues for £30m over 'price fixing' on generics

The NHS is suing seven drug companies for £30 million, claiming they colluded to fix the price of commonly prescribed generic medicines between 1997 and 1998.

The NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service has alleged the companies restricted supply of penicillin-based antibiotics in order to push up the price.

The companies ­ Norton Healthcare, Norton Pharmaceuticals, Regent-GM, Kent Pharmaceuticals, Generics UK, Ranbaxy UK and DDSA Pharmaceuticals ­ have strenuously denied the claims.

In 2000, ministers set a statutory price ceiling for generic drugs at the average of 15 months before following huge rises in prices.

The counter fraud service is continuing investigations into the anti-competitive supply of more than 30 other generics.

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