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In a withering ruling, a Canadian appeals court overturned a controversial decision issued four years ago by a government agency that ordered Alexion Pharmaceuticals to lower the price of a rare disease medicine and reimburse the government for “excessive” pricing.

The ruling follows a long-running struggle that began after the drug maker six years ago refused to lower its price for Soliris, which, depending upon the disease, costs approximately $400,000 to $560,000 per patient. The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, which demanded a lower price, also ordered the company to repay sales generated by the drug from 2012 through the first half of 2014.


The clash can be traced to a comparative pricing tool used by the board. Canadian rules require that drug prices should not be higher than the median price found in seven other countries — the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, and Switzerland. Following an investigation, the board decided Alexion had set the “highest international price” for the Canadian market for its drug.

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