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Priadel being discontinued in the UK


Sim Addict
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For all you UKers who take Priadel, it is going to be discontinued in April 2021. There are already shortages and I am struggling to get 400mg tablets from my pharmacy. There is an alternative called Camcollit which we will all need to switch to but it's more expensive than Priadel was before they hiked the price up to £87 per box during the shortage.

Just a heads up to be prepared.


Of dust and shadows
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This has been known amongst Primary, Secondary care, Mental Health Trusts etc since the beginning of August. Guidelines on effective switching are being established with advice from The Royal College of Psychiatrists. Practices will be identifying patients who need to switch to an alternative with a suitable plan to manage this transition.

As well as Camcolit, Lithium Carbonate 250mg f/c tablets is another alternative. By the way, Priadel liquid has no plans to be stopped by the manufacturer as such.

Of course this is a messy situation, compounded with stock pressure issues being experienced with some of the alternatives as well as the expected eye watering price hikes being associated with this. From my experience, it is due to these hike in the prices that is one of the factors causing these shortages (as well the natural sudden increase in demand overcoming production capabilities.) What tends to happen, although never openly admitted, is that suppliers tends to hold back distribution of price affected meds so in effect they can sell old priced meds at the new inflated prices and so make dirty profit. Immoral, I know, but that's how it's been for years. I won't go into any further details as it will detract from the basis of this thread. But I will add one thing, the makers of Priadel and Camcolit are both one and the same...

Goes without saying that the first step would be to contact your GPs to discuss matters relating to switching.


Of dust and shadows
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I had a feeling this could happen, news has just broken out : Priadel withdrawal paused as competition watchdog (CMA) launches an investigation into uncompetitve practices by the manufacturer.

In case anyone is interested, here's the news article

Essential Pharma has paused its withdrawal of bipolar medicine Priadel while the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigates suspected anti-competitive practices.

The CMA has opened an investigation into the manufacturer for “suspected anti-competitive practices in the supply of drugs used to treat bipolar disorder,” it announced yesterday (October 6).
The competition watchdog will investigate whether Essential Pharma “has abused a dominant position in relation to lithium-based medicines for treating bipolar disorder…by proposing to withdraw the supply of Priadel to UK patients”, it said.
Essential Pharma announced earlier this year (August 19) that it would discontinue its Priadel (lithium carbonate) 200mg and 400mg prolonged-release tablets from April 2021, a "difficult decision" it said was down to pricing restrictions making the manufacture of the drug "unviable".
However, it has since informed the DH that it will continue to supply the drug to “facilitate discussions on pricing, removing the immediate threat to patients,” according to the CMA.
Essential Pharma chief executive Ingvild Liborg said in a statement yesterday (October 6) that the company “looks forward” to working with the CMA and DH “towards a positive outcome that…results in the sustainable supply of Priadel to patients in the UK”.
If Priadel was withdrawn as planned, “thousands of patients” on the medication would need to swap to an alternative and more expensive, form of lithium such as Camcolit – also manufactured by Essential Pharma – the CMA said.
Despite Essential Pharma’s decision to continue supplying Priadel, the CMA investigation will remain open, as the “threat of withdrawal remains unless a satisfactory agreement is reached on price”, the competition watchdog said.
The CMA explained that while it “has reasonable grounds to suspect that Essential Pharma may have infringed the chapter II prohibition of the Competition Act 1998”, no decision has yet been made as to whether the law has been broken.
Essential Pharma: Priadel is loss-making in UK
Ms Liborg said Essential Pharma sells Priadel “at a loss in the UK and at a price lower than in other European markets”.
“At the heart of Essential Pharma’s business is ensuring the sustainable supply of low volume, established products – but this is not possible when they are loss-making and pricing restrictions do not always provide for viable solutions,” she added.
Essential Pharma said it had “attempted to establish a sustainable price for Priadel” in discussions with the DH, but this was “unsuccessful” – leading to its decision to withdraw the drug from the market.
The company hopes the decision to pause the discontinuation of Priadel will enable it to “re-engage in a productive and constructive dialogue” with the DH, Ms Liborg said
CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said the organisation “welcomes Essential Pharma’s decision to continue supply for the time being, while it tries to reach an agreement with the DH on price”.
"Thousands of people across the UK rely on lithium-based drugs to manage bipolar disorder, so it’s important that we protect their interests by scrutinising potential competition concerns to reach a fair conclusion as quickly as possible,” he added.
Last month (September 22), 12 healthcare bodies wrote to health secretary Matt Hancock asking that he “personally intervene” in the proposed withdrawal of the Priadel brand of lithium carbonate.
The letter, which was signed by senior figures at healthcare organisations including the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, raised concerns about increased costs to the NHS if Priadel was to be withdrawn, and potential harm to patients as key issues.


Of dust and shadows
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This is not the first time such a situation has occured to be honest. It's basically nefarious ,manipulation of the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme, the mechanism which sets the prices for branded meds to be supplied under the NHS. There's been several occasions where the CMA has stepped in as well as the Serious Fraud Squad wading in to investigate manipulative practices which has resulted in successful prosecutions.

It's great news that action is being taken and that hopefully plans to cease production will be abandoned completely. To me, apart from corporate greed, it's the usual obstinancy from DoH as well as calculated brinksmanship from Essential Pharma Ltd.


Of dust and shadows
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One of the main reasons that was done, was because the Competition and Markets Authority had opened a case against EssentialPharma. This was because their game plan was to force prescribers to switch to expensive alternatives manufactured by them.

Priadel 400mg and 200mg were previously priced at £4.02 and £2.76 per pack of 100, respectively, with Camcolit 400mg costing £48.18 per pack of 100 and Essential Pharma’s generic lithium carbonate 250mg priced at £87 per pack of 100. After the investigation began, EssentialPharma re-entered into negotiations with the Dept of Health. They agreed to increase the price of Priadel 400mg and 200mg tablets to £8.50 and £7.50 per pack of 100, respectively — more than double the previous prices. EssPharm has also proposed formal commitments to not to try to take the piss again regarding Lithium with the CMA for a period of 5 yrs. The CMA is now seeking comments from NHS stakeholders before accepting EssPharm's proposals and so closing the case.

Goes to show that once in a while the authorities can grow a pair and slap Big Pharma.

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