Scottish business wire: Pfizer | Stagecoach | Car sales

Catch up with the main breaking business stories of the day.

Drugs giant Pfizer has been handed a record fine by the competition watchdog. Picture: Dan Kitwood/PA Wire
Drugs giant Pfizer has been handed a record fine by the competition watchdog. Picture: Dan Kitwood/PA Wire

Drugs groups Pfizer and Flynn Pharma have been fined nearly £90 million for “excessive and unfair” pricing to the NHS after hiking the cost of an anti-epilepsy drug by up to 2,600 per cent. The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) said drug maker Pfizer and distributor Flynn Pharma broke competition law when they increased the cost of a medicine used by about 48,000 patients across the UK. Pfizer was handed a record £84.2m fine, while Flynn Pharma was fined £5.2m. The CMA has also ordered both firms to reduce their prices for the anti-epilepsy drug.

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Transport giant Stagecoach has seen its first-half profits slide by more than a fifth amid a “challenging” political and economic environment. However, the Perth-based group insisted there were “positive long-term prospects” for the public transport market as it posted a statutory operating profit of £108.9m for the six months to 29 October, down from £137.2m for the same period a year earlier. Chief executive Martin Griffith said: “We remain confident that we can continue to deliver long-term value to our customers and shareholders.”

Optimism within Scotland’s motor trade remains high after new figures revealed a steady rise in new car sales. Compared with November 2015, there was a 2 per cent increase in registrations last month to 15,278 vehicles, with Renault grabbing the top two positions with its Clio and Captur models. The figures follow Monday’s news that new car sales across the UK had risen by 2.9 per cent last month.

“There has been much evidence that UK businesses have put investment on hold following the landscape-shifting Brexit vote,” writes Martin Flanagan. “But that has now been mirrored in the latest data for acquisition activity as well, showing a distinct slowdown since that historic decision. Latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows that UK merger and acquisition activity nearly halved between July and September, with 140 deals worth £1m or more – against 278 in the three months leading up to the UK’s European Union referendum.”