Norton settles price fixing claim

Healthcare giant Norton has become the third company to agree a multi-million pound settlement with the British National Health Service (NHS) to end a claim for alleged price fixing.

Under the terms of its agreement, US-based Norton does not accept any liability but will pay the British NHS a total of USD$24m (GBP£13.5m) compensation.

The case, which dates back to 2003, refers to the supply of generic drugs.

Two firms have already agreed to pay compensation for their alleged role – UK firm Generics and India’s Ranbaxy.

Generics announced a £12m settlement last summer, and Ranbaxy has agreed to pay £4.5m in compensation.

Like Norton, they have not accepted any liability.

“These recoveries are one of the largest ever made in a case involving the public sector and certainly the largest yet in a case of this kind involving the British NHS,” said Jim Gee, director of British NHS counter fraud services.

“Norton is the third of the defendant companies to have recognised the strength of the claim made by the British NHS and to have decided to act in the public interest.

“Their approach is to be praised and represents another step towards the British NHS recovering its losses.

“The remaining defendant companies should recognise our resolve to press on with the continuing civil proceedings against all of those allegedly concerned in the price fixing arrangements.”

A spokesman for British NHS counter fraud services said the companies still facing civil suits were Regent-GM Laboratories, Goldshield Group, Kent Pharmaceuticals and DDSA Pharmaceuticals.

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