While preparing to sue the manufacturers of the heartburn remedy Gaviscon for almost £90 million, NHS has made serious allegations against Reckitt Benckiser saying that the firm had charged doctors with a more expensive version of the medicine when there existed a lesser expensive one.
Recently, in another case, the Office of Fair Trading had fined it £10.2 million after the officials from Reckitt Benckiser admitted breaking UK and EU legislation with the sale of the medicine to the health service.
Reckitt Benckiser's Gaviscon Original was quite a popular medicine and it was very frequently prescribed by the doctors. As its patent had to expire in 2005, other companies got a chance to offer something at a cheaper rate.
But rather than putting forward a generic name allowing cheaper versions to enter into the market, the company left doctors with no option after proposing Gaviscon Advance.
But the whole plan was exposed when an anonymous source revealed, “Reckitt cheated the Health Service. It could have saved the NHS millions of pounds. I felt it had to be exposed”.
Admitting to fail to allow competition, the company said that it had not cheated NHS in any case and it was not happy about the inappropriate language used in the internal correspondence.