Pill manufacturer Pillsbury says it has been fined $2.9m for ‘price gouging’ on prescription drugs

Pillsbury has been slapped with $2,973,859 in fines by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for “price gouge” in the prescription drug market, and has had to close some of its online stores.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has issued a “notice of complaint” over Pilly’s alleged price-gouging practices in the Australian market.

It has now fined the pharmacy chain over “price fixing”, which it describes as “the manipulation of pricing”.

The watchdog has found that Pillsham “negligently” and “unreasonably” sold  opioid-based medication, with a total cost of $3,091,566 in 2015/16.

Pillerix was accused of “price-fixing” in March 2018, after it said it would only sell its drugs on a limited list of prescription-only websites.

“The company deliberately chose to not sell its products to all pharmacies, in order to maximise profits, and this resulted in the loss of significant retail sales,” the ACCC said in a statement.

Its report is the latest in a string of investigations into the Australian pharmaceutical industry.

In 2018, the Australian Medical Association launched an investigation into “price collusion” between some pharmacies and health-care providers, including the Australian Pharmacy Association (APA), in the US.

On Tuesday, the ACCCC also opened an investigation of Pillsbrooks, which is based in New Zealand.

A Pillsborough spokesperson told the ABC the company was committed to maintaining a safe and ethical supply chain.

However, they said Pillsworth had agreed to “temporarily reduce the supply of certain medicines”.

“We will take a full and robust look at the findings of this matter, including whether we will be able to find any way to ensure the safety and quality of our products,” they said.

Read more about the opioid crisis: Read the full report here.