The acting commissioner announced yesterday (Tuesday) to MBI Pharma Ltd. and two officers in it that it intends to impose financial sanctions of NIS 8 million on MBI and NIS 614,450 on each of the officers, subject to a hearing. This is after the MBI set a high and unfair price for the drug “Lidiant” – a life-saving drug for patients with Cerebrotendinous Xanthomatosis (CTX).
This is the first time in Israel that the Commissioner of Competition has taken enforcement action against a monopoly owner who abused his position by setting a high and unfair price. An examination by the Competition Authority shows that MBI has a monopoly in Israel in the supply of medicine for CTX. It is an incurable genetic disease, affecting a few hundred patients around the world, about 50 of them in Israel. Patients with the disease are required to take a life-saving drug daily for the rest of their lives. In the past, patients took a drug called Xenbilox, which was marketed in Israel mainly MBI at a price of about NIS 8,000 per pack.
In 2017, the global manufacturer stopped producing the Xenbilux, and began marketing the “Lidiant”, with no real difference between them. In 2018, “Lident” was registered in Israel as a drug designed for CTX, so according to the Ministry of Health’s regulations, except for exceptions, no other drug can be imported to treat the disease. At that time, and to this day, the price of the drug has risen by hundreds of percent to a price of about NIS 50,000 for one pack. Even after the drug entered the drug basket, the price of the drug remained high and stands at about NIS 32. This is a price hundreds of percent higher than the Xenbilux. The high costs are borne by the health funds and the health services basket fund, while harming their budgets at the expense of the public as a whole.
Therefore, the Competition Commissioner is considering determining that the company has abused its monopolistic position by charging a high and unfair price and imposing financial sanctions on MBI and its two officers. Opened following a complaint from the Ministry of Health.
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