Editor's blog Friday 15 October 2010: Ironic policymaking on generics
In a masterpiece of comic timing, the DH yesterday issued a statement that mandatory generic substitution in primary care would not be pursued.
Today, the Office of Fair Trading announced that Reckitt Benckiser has "agreed" to pay a £10 million fine in recognition of its abuse of UK and European competition law by withdrawing and de-listing Gaviscon Original Liquid from the NHS prescription channel in 2005.
The OFT alleged that Reckitt Benckiser withdrew NHS packs of Gaviscon Original Liquid from the NHS prescription channel after the product's patent had expired but before the publication of the generic name for it, so that more prescriptions would be issued for its alternative product, Gaviscon Advance Liquid. Pharmacies that receive prescriptions for Gaviscon Advance Liquid must dispense it, as it is patent protected and there are no generic equivalent medicines.
Ironic policymaking? We got it.