On 19 June 2013, Joaquín Almunia, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Competition, gave a press conference in Brussels on the sanctions given by the European Commission to several pharmaceutical companies which entered into anticompetitive agreements to delay the entry of generic medicines on the market.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior views of the Berlaymont building, in Brussels (2 shots)
||Arrival of Joaquín Almunia, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Competition, to the press conference
||Soundbite by Joaquín Almunia (in ENGLISH): Today, the College of Commissioners has found and sanctioned infringements of antitrust rules by several pharmaceutical companies. These companies entered into anticompetitive agreements to delay the entry of generic medicines on the market.
We have imposed fines totalling 145 million euros, including 93 to be paid by the Danish company Lundbeck.
||Cutaway of a photographer
||Soundbite by Joaquín Almunia (in ENGLISH): The practices we are sanctioning are simply unacceptable. By today's decision we are confirming that these so-called "pay-for-delay" deals constitute severe infringements of EU competition law. They may cause severe harm to patients and taxpayers and must be sanctioned accordingly.
||Cutaway of a cameraman
||Soundbite by Joaquín Almunia (in ENGLISH): The pharmaceutical sector is essential to our lives. Innovation can bring new or more effective cures and needs to be protected. But once the patent over the molecule has lapsed, price competition between the pharmaceutical companies that invented the original medicines and the generic makers plays a crucial role.
Thanks to this competition, patients can have access to affordable healthcare: through generics they can get the same treatment significantly cheaper. It also ensures that public health systems can remain economically sustainable in these times of difficult budgetary constraints.
||Cutaway of a journalist taking some notes
||Soundbite by Joaquín Almunia (in ENGLISH): Pharmaceutical expenditure absorbs significant portions of budgets of states and households. It is therefore crucial that European citizens are not deprived of cheaper health bills by anticompetitive practices.
Moreover, competition by generics is also a dynamic force which stimulates pharmaceutical companies to continue to invest in research and to develop innovative treatments, as they cannot rely forever on their blockbuster products.
||Joaquín Almunia leaving the press conference