Aspen fined €5.2m for unfair pricing in Italy amid SA investigations

On Monday, the Competition Commission announced that the JSE listed South African Multinational was being investigated for various suspected transgressions.

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JOHANNESBURG - Pharmaceutical giant Aspen has been fined €5.2 million plus interest after an appeal relating to its portfolio of oncology products distributed in Italy was dismissed.

On Monday, the Competition Commission announced that the JSE listed South African multinational along with Pfizer Roche are being investigated for various suspected transgressions related to the pricing of cancer medication in the country.

Cancer organisations have since called for the commission to investigate alleged price-fixing in the sector.

In the wake of alleged excessive pricing of cancer medication by some pharmaceutical companies in the country, an Italian court has now fined Aspen Pharmacare Holdings over €5 million after it lost its appeal.

Aspen has been found to have used its dominance in the market while negotiating prices with Italy’s drug regulator.

Professor Michael Herbst from the Cancer Association of South Africa says pharmaceutical companies need to be more transparent.

“I just cannot see for myself what the reason is, except that people are just very greedy and they want to become millionaires overnight.”

The Cancer Alliance’s Salome Meyer says they hope the commission will get to the bottom of the claims around excessive pricing.

“We hope that the Competition Commission reviews everything.”

Meanwhile, the commission says it hopes to wrap up its investigation soon as many people are in need of the life-saving medication.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)