Abbvie, a global pharmaceutical company, is claiming that National Health Service (UK) breached procurement rules during a process seeking suppliers for hepatitis C treatment.
Based in Illinois (USA), Abbvie has taken the NHS to court over a procurement process aimed to eliminate hepatitis C in UK. Pharma company launched proceedings in London’s Technology and Construction Court this summer. NHS England has denied the allegation.
Last January, NHS chiefs called on the pharmaceutical industry to help eliminate hepatitis C by 2025 – five years earlier than the World Health Organisation’s target. The procurement, described by NHS England as the single largest medicines procurement ever done by the NHS, was launched in spring. Its estimated value is in the hundreds of millions of pounds.
At the time, NHS England said it hoped the procurement would lead to new treatments being offered to patients by October. The procurement was launched in a bid to lower the cost of hepatitis C drugs, which are manufactured by Abbvie, Gilead Sciences, Janssen Pharmaceutical and MSD.
Successful companies would be given three year contracts, with NHS England having an option to extend them by two further years. According to court documents, which are heavily redacted due to commercial sensitivity, Abbvie alleged NHS England breached its duty to treat all bidders fairly. Currently, both NHS England and Abbvie are preparing for a trial, for which a date has not yet been made public.