The UK market for medical products is tremendously competitive, with pharmacies and dispensing doctors regularly changing their suppliers as prices rise and fall. Although this applies to both brands and generics, for this article we decided to look at Risedronate Sodium Tabs 35mg 4 as its price has been through some rather dramatic changes.
Risedronate Sodium Tabs 35mg 4 was launched in December 2010, well before our graph starts. However, we chose this time frame as it shows the way prices in the UK can rise again after dropping to unprofitable levels. This happens because manufacturers stop making unprofitable products or tell contract manufacturers not to make any more. Then dispensing to patients depletes the remaining stock and prices rise as a shortage becomes apparent.
Eventually manufacturers reverse their stop-orders, more packs start rolling off production lines and finding their way to the UK. Then prices fall again as manufacturers and suppliers compete for market share.
During the three and a half years covered by the graph, the number of active suppliers fell to a low of 13 in July 2019 at the height of the peak. Presumably some had depleted their remaining stock and were waiting for fresh supplies to arrive. Just over a year later in September 2020 the number of active suppliers with stock to sell reached a peak of 24 while prices were falling but were still profitable. The next low point came when the average price fell back to £0.67 in June 2022. This is above the average price (£0.32) in December 2018 which triggered the last price rise, but prices do seem to be on the rise again.
This article illustrates two things. The first is that UK prices do often go through rises and falls on a periodic basis. The second, from the complexity of the different supplier prices shown on the graph, is that the UK market is highly competitive.
In the UK many suppliers use Wavedata Live to monitor market prices and adjust their prices so as to maximise sales and profits. This service is at https://www.wavedata.co.uk/login/