Australian Health Minister slams GSK’s Panadol Osteo price hike
Australian Health Minister Sussan Ley says she has asked her Department to urgently alert the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to plans by the maker of Panadol Osteo to increase its price by 50% on January 1, 2016.
There are no obvious market changes that justify such a substantial increase, she said, adding: “This includes changes to the listing of a small number (15%) of over-the-counter medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which I understand impose no additional administrative or regulative costs for these products.
In fact, these changes aim to address inconsistencies in the PBS that see consumers without a prescription purchasing a common over-the-counter medicine such as Panadol Osteo or an equivalent brand for under A$5 off-the-shelf or online from many pharmacies, while a concessional patient buying it through a prescription pays A$7.52.
Earlier this month, UK-headquartered pharma major GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) told its wholesalers it would lift its prices for Panadol Osteo by 50% on January 1. “In moving to an over-the-counter business model, GlaxoSmithKline is no longer able to sustain its current pricing of Panadol Osteo,” the letter to its wholesalers said.
An ACCC spokesman confirmed the watchdog was assessing the matter and seeking more information, reported the Sydney Morning Herald. “The Australian Consumer Law prohibits business from engaging in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or from making false or misleading representations,” the ACCC spokesman said.