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Nitin Sodha leaves NPA board, a month after stepping down as chair

Nitin Sodha: It has been a pleasure and a privilege
Nitin Sodha: It has been a pleasure and a privilege

Nitin Sodha has left the board of the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), a month after he stood down as its chair.

Mr Sodha stepped down as chair on June 3 as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigates allegations of collusion against a company in which he owns shares, wholesaler Lexon UK.

Since then, the CMA has made a second allegation against the wholesaler (see below).

The NPA announced yesterday afternoon (July 2) that Mr Sodha is leaving the board after 12 years, although it did not say whether this was linked to either CMA investigation.

NPA vice-chair Andrew Lane, who has taken on the duties of NPA chair for the past month, said the association “sincerely thanks Nitin for his contribution”.

“He pioneered a new approach to taking board meetings out of our headquarters to visit members, policy makers and other stakeholders in all parts of the UK, to share best practice across the four nations,” Mr Lane said.

“Nitin made a major contribution at a very challenging time for our members and we wish him well.”

Mr Sodha said: “It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work for so many years with NPA board colleagues and staff to support independent pharmacies across the UK.”

Read the full statements from Mr Lane and Mr Sodha.

The allegations against Lexon UK

The CMA alleged in May that Lexon UK, along with manufacturers Alliance Pharmaceuticals, Focus Pharmaceuticals and Medreich, broke the law by agreeing not to compete in the supply of anti-nausea drug prochlorperazine.

Their alleged agreement not to compete for the supply of prescription-only prochlorperazine 3mg buccal tablets led to prices for the NHS rising 700% over four years, the CMA claimed.

In June, the CMA alleged that manufacturer King Pharmaceuticals, along with wholesalers Alissa Healthcare and Lexon UK, exchanged commercially sensitive information, including on prices, volumes and “entry plans...to try to keep nortriptyline prices high”.

The CMA’s findings in both cases are provisional, the watchdog added, and the companies involved have the opportunity to make representations before it reaches a final decision.

Mr Sodha stressed to C+D last year that he currently has limited involvement with Lexon UK, and attends “maybe four” meetings a year.

6 Comments
Question: 
What do you make of Mr Sodha's decision to leave the NPA board?

A LOCUM, Community pharmacist

I've never known a site so full of keyboard warriors , anyone who knows Nitin knows what a genuine guy he is ,he employs 1000's of people  he's gutted having to leave , he can't be responsible for everything that goes on in such a huge company and nothing has been proven yet , some people need to get a life 

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

In order:

1 - this is an online forum - by definition it has 'keyboard warriors'

2 - I am not suggesting Mr Sodha has done anything wrong, merely drawing a reasonable conclusion from the information given.

3 - I can think of several people who I thought were 'genuine guys' until they got found out

4 - Being on the Board means by definition that you are responsible for what goes on

5- As you say, nothing has been proven - Innocent until proven guilty

6 - I have a very nice life thank you - How's yours?

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

A bit mouthy but here goes...

If by keyboard warriors, you mean either contractors losing money hand over fist and sometimes struggling to pay themselves or employees who haven't had a pay rise in years yet working harder, despite the "unexplained growth" in wholesaler profits (https://www.chemistanddruggist.co.uk/news/unexplained-growth-wholesaler-profits-tied-generics-shortages) along with the fact that Mr Sodha's company, a wholesaler, has been accused of price fixing, meaning "independent community pharmacies can lose out if restricted choice leads to higher prices" according to the NPA (https://www.chemistanddruggist.co.uk/news/pharma-companies-700-percent-prochlorperazine-price-hike?cid=AFF-CDNEW-RELATEDARTICLE-POSITION1), then yes, keyboard warriors.

A LOCUM, Community pharmacist

'nothing has been proven yet'

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

Absolutely. But questions have been asked and they need answers, only right that he stood down temporarily while investigation was being carried out.

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

Hmmm.... some might think there is clearly a case to answer from the CMA. If that is so, then it begs the question - has he jumped before he was pushed? Now what was that (oft misquoted) saying? 'The love of money is the root of all evil'

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