Competition & Markets Authority
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Pharma deal could reduce choice and lead to higher prices for HRT treatments

Following its Phase 1 investigation, the CMA has found that Theramex's proposed purchase of Femoston and Duphaston could reduce competition and choice for hormone replacement therapy treatments.

Theramex is a global pharmaceutical company specialising in women’s health products, such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and fertility treatments. Viatris, another global healthcare company, makes products across a broad range of therapeutic areas. Last year, Theramex announced it would buy the European rights to the Duphaston and Femoston HRT product ranges from Viatris.

During its initial Phase 1 review, the CMA identified that Theramex is one of the largest suppliers in the systemic HRT market in the UK. It supplies oestrogen patches and combined oestrogen and progestogen patches and pills. Femoston offers an important competitive alternative to Theramex’s products.

The CMA is concerned that the deal could reduce competition in this important market, the cost of which is often covered by the NHS, by reducing incentives to bring new products to the market and improve and promote existing products. The reduction of HRT alternatives in a market that is already highly concentrated could reduce choice and also lead to potential price increases, as well as raising concerns about the security of supply.

The CMA has also identified concerns that the merger could also lead to a loss of future competition on the UK market for dydrogesterone, a progestogen-only product. The CMA has found evidence to suggest that without the merger, there may have been greater competition to bring dydrogesterone products to the UK market, and more new products may have been introduced.

Sorcha O’Carroll, Senior Director for Mergers at the CMA, said:

HRT plays a critical role in treating symptoms which impact the everyday lives of millions of women.

We’re concerned this deal between Theramex and Viatris – which transfers control of Femoston and Duphaston in the UK and Europe – may reduce competition and lead to higher prices, as well as preventing new treatments being brought to market.

Our door is now open to the firms to offer solutions to our concerns, otherwise this case will proceed to a more in-depth investigation.

Both Theramex and Viatris have 5 working days to respond with meaningful solutions to the CMA, otherwise the deal will be referred to a more in-depth Phase 2 investigation.

More information can be found on the Theramex / Viatris case page.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Theramex is headquartered in the UK. Viatris is based in the United States.
  2. Phase 2 investigations last 24 weeks (extendable by up to 8 weeks in certain circumstances) and are led by an independent panel of experts.
  3. For media enquiries, contact the CMA press office on 020 3738 6460 or


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