Top Stories

July 22, 2022


Pfizer & Flynn fined for overcharging NHS for life-saving drug

Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Flynn have both been fined after they overcharged the UK NHS for a life-saving epilepsy drug. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) fined Pfizer £63 million and Flynn £6.7 million after finding they had “abused their dominant positions” in the market to charge unfairly high prices over a four-year period. NHS costs for the phenytoin sodium capsules rose from £2 million in 2012 to £50 million the following year. The CMA stressed that Pfizer and Flynn illegally exploited their market dominant positions to charge excessive prices at the expense of patients and taxpayers. Pfizer responded to say it “disagrees with the CMA’s latest infringement decision and will be appealing against it”. Flynn said it was “surprised and disappointed” at the decision. (Sky News)


Australia environment report finds rapid species extinction

Australia’s long-awaited 2021 ‘State of the Environment Report’ has found severe deterioration across biodiversity, habitat loss and pollution. The report found that Australia has lost more mammal species than any other continent in the world with over 100 Australian declared extinct or extinct in the wild. One primary cause is habitat destruction. Almost half the country is now used for grazing sheep and cattle, and about 6.1 million hectares of primary forest have been cleared since 1990. These changes mean Australia has experienced the third-largest cumulative loss of organic carbon in soil, behind only China and the US. Many of the worst changes have occurred in the past five years alone, with 202 animals and plant species having been declared ‘threatened’, bringing the total to 377 species threatened in the past decade. (Al Jazeera)


UK FCA sets up ‘safe space’ for ESG research & development

The Oxford Sustainable Finance Group has partnered with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to establish a new sustainable finance research institution. The Oxford Sustainable Finance Lab is described as a “safe space” to conceive, test and scale urgently required innovations in sustainable finance. The Lab is associated with the University of Oxford and will bring together researchers and financial institutions, supervisory authorities, central banks, government departments and civil society. Other partners of the lab will be announced in due course. It is the latest in a series of ESG-focused moves made by the FCA. The authority recently backed regulation of the ESG data sector and has indicated it will coordinate with the Treasury to introduce legislation in the field. (Responsible Investor)*


Airlines must meet their consumer obligations, say regulators

Regulators have told airlines that they must treat passengers better when dealing with disruption. In a joint letter to carriers, the Competition and Markets Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority said passengers “could experience significant harm unless airlines meet their obligations”. The authorities said some airlines were not doing enough to avoid engaging in one or more harmful practices. These harmful practices include selling more tickets for flights than could reasonably be supplied, not always satisfying obligations to offer alternative airlines to passengers affected by cancellations, and failing to give consumers clear and upfront information about their rights. It comes as airlines continue to axe flights, adding to the tens of thousands that have already been cancelled in recent months mainly due to staff shortages. (Sky News)


UK ministers unveil vision for boosting ‘transition minerals’

The UK government has published the first ever ‘Critical Minerals Strategy’, setting out its vision for how it can develop a secure and stable supply of so-called transition minerals. Used to build electric vehicles, solar panels, wind turbines and other clean technologies, transition minerals include graphite, lithium and silicon. The Strategy establishes a roadmap to increase domestic minerals production, building the UK’s minerals skills base, boosting reuse and recycling and increasing research and development in the field. Ministers said the measures would help diversify the UK’s minerals supply chains, create jobs and galvanise the growth of clean industries such as EV manufacturing, while enhancing national security. Ministers claim that the Strategy will utilise London’s minerals trading hub status to leverage global markets more effectively. (Business Green)*

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