London, 16.04.17: Leaked internal emails appear to show employees at one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies calling for “celebration” over price hikes of cancer drugs, an investigation has revealed.
Staff at Aspen Pharmacare, which is based in South Africa and has its European headquarters in Dublin, reportedly plotted to destroy stocks of life-saving medicines during a price dispute with the Spanish health service in 2014.
After purchasing five different cancer drugs from British firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the company tried to sell the medicines in Europe for up to 40 times their previous price, reported The Times.
In 2013, the price of one pack of a chemotherapy drug called busulfan, used to treat leukaemia, rose from £5.20 to £65.22 in England and Wales, according to the newspaper.
When bargaining over drug prices in Spain, the pharmaceutical giant is said to have threatened to stop selling the cancer treatments unless the health minister agreed to price rises of up to 4,000%, reported Spanish daily El Confidencial Digital at the time. The price increases were made possible by a loophole that allows drug companies to change the price of medicines if they are no longer branded with the same name.
Courtesy: Katie Forster, The Independent