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Published on : Aug 21, 2017

Generic drugmakers have often come under fire for price fixing and inflating prices. In fact, for products where they have complete monopoly or face limited competition, they command high prices. This is most prominent in the U.S., where in the absence of government controls on prices, buyers are forced to cough up whatever is demanded from them.

Price of Lomotil Goes up Ten Times Since 2013

One such example is that of London-headquartered multinational pharmaceutical company called Hikma. The drugmaker has spiked prices of quite a few medicines in the U.S. It is said to be overcharging patients by almost 430% for medicines meant for diarrhoea treatment. Price of Atropine-Diphenoxylate, more popularly known by its old brand name Lomotil and which is meant to treat diarrhoea, has seen its price go to US$84 from US$16 a bottle. In the past 13 years, the drug has seen its price increase almost ten times.

The U.S. division of Hikma called West-Ward Pharmaceuticals, has increased the price of six of its drugs right at the beginning of the month from 75% to 430%. This makes the mean increase to 237%. This is because West-Ward is either the sole supplier of the products in the U.S. or one of two manufacturers.

President of U.S. generics at West-Ward Brian Hoffman defended the price hike by saying that about 94% of the company’s copycat medicines have seen their prices tumble or have seen no change in 2017. He also added that prices have overall fallen this year.
 
Mr Hoffmann also said that the company had adjusted prices of a small number of products, needing investment?in order?to become commercially viable.