The Colombian business regulator, the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce at the end of March decided that he had imposed a fine the Franco-Colombian Laboratory Lafrancol SAS 1.25 billion pesos (approximately US$333,451) for exceeding the maximum sale price of many important medicines in Colombia, in violation of the provisions of Circular 4 of 2012 and Circular 4 of the 2018 regulations established by the National Commission on the Prices of Medicines and Medical Devices.
The regulator said the international pharmaceutical company was charging Colombians more than 400% of the maximum legal price for several lifesaving drugs.
It is important to note that many medicines deemed essential in Colombia are subsidized or paid for with public funds, giving the government a say in pricing. A government investigation determined that Lafrancol was in fact marketing publicly funded drugs at up to 403.5% of the maximum price set by the government.
Lafrancol belongs by global pharmaceutical company Abbott Labs (NYSE: ABT), and took down its website. According to Internet archives, the Lafrancol site was redirected to Abbott Labs until January 22 of this year, shortly before the announcement of the price hike fee.
Finance Colombia has contacted Abbott Labs, but at press time no response has been received.
Drugs Lafrancol is accused of overbilling in Colombia by the SIC:
|Normolip nf||Treats very high triglyceride levels|
|dishonor||Specific gastrointestinal lipase inhibitor|
|Valsartan and Valtan||Control of high blood pressure|
|rhinobudex||Prevent/relieve sneezing, runny nose, nasal polyps|
|Lukast||Used to prevent wheezing|
|Atelit||Treatment of acute coronary syndrome|
|Furoate||Local anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory action|
|drugtech||Used as a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor|
|Valcote||Used as an alternative treatment for mania in bipolar disease|
|Montelukast||Used to improve asthma symptoms|
|Lafigin||Treats diseases such as epilepsy and bipolar disorder|
|Betaplex||Used as a treatment for high blood pressure|