JOHANNESBURG, April 18 Shares in Aspen
Pharmacare fell 2.5 percent on Tuesday following a
British newspaper report accusing the African company of
withholding drugs to try to drive up prices in European markets.
Citing leaked internal emails, The Times newspaper reported
staff at Aspen discussed destroying supplies of life-saving
cancer medicines during a price dispute with the Spanish health
service in 2014.
Aspen, Africa's largest generic drugmaker, declined to
comment on specific allegations because it could be in breach of
sub-judice laws that apply to matters that are the subject of
"Aspen has clearly demonstrated its commitment to providing
quality medicines affordably over many years. The supply of the
oncology products in question is no exception," Aspen said in a
statement to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
"Aspen looks forward to the opportunity to demonstrate the
integrity and legality of its practices in the context of these
Shares in the company fell 2.5 percent to 273.17 rand by
0805 GMT, lagging behind a 0.7 percent decline in the
Johannesburg's Top-40 index. Tuesday was the first day
of trading after the long Easter weekend.
Aspen, based in the South African city of Durban, has
expanded overseas to benefit from the expiry of patents on
best-selling drugs. That has helped to fuel a more than
nine-fold increase in its share price since early 2008.
The company said the oncology drugs in question generated
sales in the European Union of 60 million euros ($64 million) in
the year to the end of June 2016, much of which was achieved on
an average price of approximately 2 euros per tablet.
($1 = 0.9391 euros)
(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Keith Weir)