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South African watchdog drops pricing probe into Aspen Pharmacare, Equity Pharma

The Competition Commission of South Africa said it dropped investigations into Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd. and Equity Pharma Holdings (Pty) Ltd. because an excessive pricing case cannot be sustained against the companies.

The regulator previously initiated separate probes into Roche Holding AG and Genentech Inc., Pfizer Inc. and Equity, and Aspen for suspected abuse of dominance and excessive pricing of certain cancer medicines.

The investigation into Aspen revealed that revenues attributable to cancer drugs Myleran, Alkeran and Leukeran are very low as they were at the end of their lifespans, meaning very few patients are on them.

The investigation into Equity revealed that cancer drug Xalkori, or crizotinib, is not yet registered in South Africa. The high price of the drug, imported once with the permission of Medicines Control Council, was a result of the high cost of importing the product from Germany.

The commission continues to investigate the complaints against Roche, Genentech and Pfizer.

Equity is a unit of Clinigen Group Plc.