Colombia’s corporate regulator, the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce at the end of March ruled that it has fined the Laboratorio Franco Colombiano Lafrancol SAS $1.25 billion pesos (approximately $333,451 US dollars) for exceeding the maximum sale price of many important medicines in Colombia, violating the provisions of Circular 4 of 2012 and Circular 4 of 2018 regulations set forth by the National Commission on Prices of Medicines and Medical Devices.
The regulator said the international pharma company was charging Colombians over 400% of the maximum legal price for several vital medicines.
It is important to note that many medicines deemed essential in Colombia are subsidized or paid for by public funds, giving the government a say in the pricing. A government investigation determined that Lafrancol was in fact marketing medicines paid for by public funds for up to 403.5% the maximum price set by government.
Lafrancol is owned by global pharma firm Abbott Labs (NYSE: ABT), and has taken down its website. According to the internet archive, the Lafrancol site redirected to Abbott Labs as late as January 22 of this year, shortly before the price gouging charges were announced.
Finance Colombia reached out to Abbott Labs but as of press time has received no response.
Drugs Lafrancol is accused of overcharging for in Colombia by the SIC:
|Normolip nf||Treats very high levels of triglycerides|
|Disgrasil||Specific inhibitor of gastrointestinal lipases|
|Valsartan and Valtan||Control of high blood pressure|
|Rhinobudex||Prevent / relieve sneezing, runny nose, nasal polyps|
|Lukast||Used to prevent wheezing|
|Atelit||Treatment in 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 of 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|