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Alliance Pharma boss faces disqualification after CMA probe

·2-min read
Four drugs firms and a private equity group have were fined more than £35m by the competition watchdog for colluding to restrict the supply of an anti-nausea tablet (Lauren Hurley/PA) (PA Archive)
Four drugs firms and a private equity group have were fined more than £35m by the competition watchdog for colluding to restrict the supply of an anti-nausea tablet (Lauren Hurley/PA) (PA Archive)

British healthcare company Alliance Pharma suffered a major blow today after it announced boss Peter Butterfield could lose his job as company director following an investigation by the UK competition watchdog.

Butterfield, who has been CEO since 2018, is set to face a Competition Disqualification Order by the Competition and Markets Authority for his involvement in alleged anti-competitive practices in relation to the sale of prescription anti-nausea tablets.

The company said in a statement: “Alliance fundamentally disagrees with the CMA’s actions, both in relation to the findings against the Company and in applying for a CDO against Mr. Butterfield.

“Alliance reiterates that it did not participate in, or profit from, any market sharing arrangement and refutes any involvement by the Company or Mr. Butterfield, who retains the full confidence and support of the Board as CEO.”

It comes after the CMA issued £35 million in fines to Alliance and three other healthcare companies, accusing the firms of conspiring to restrict the supply of Prochlorperazine in an arrangement which saw the cost to the NHS of buying the anti-sickness drug soar 700%.

CMA boss Andrea Coscelli said: “These firms conspired to stifle competition in the supply of this important medication, so that the NHS – the main buyer of the drugs – lost the opportunity for increased choice and lower prices.

“All firms should know that we will not hesitate to take action like this against any businesses that collude at the expense of the NHS.”

Alliance said it has appealed against the findings of the CMA investigation.

Former Alliance CEO John Dawson also faces being forced out as a non-executive director of the company as part of the CMA ruling. A total of seven directors are set to face disqualification.

Alliance Pharma shares sunk 6.4%.