The European Commission on Thursday (November 26) fined pharmaceutical company Teva and its now subsidiary Cephalon 60.5 million euros for agreeing to delay a cheaper generic version of Cephalon’s sleep disorder medicine.
Cephalon induced Teva not to enter the market with a cheaper generic version in exchange for a package of commercial side-deals beneficial to Teva and some cash payments, European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager told a news conference.
The agreement with Teva to delay the market entry of the generic drug Modafinil after Cephalon’s main patents had expired caused substantial harm to EU patients and healthcare systems by keeping the price high, she added.
“Obviously, it means that for years, patients, national health systems, taxpayers lost out on lower prices, maybe also on innovation,” Vestager said.
Modafinil is used to treat excessive daytime sleepiness associated with narcolepsy and was Cephalon’s top-selling product under the brand Provigil for years, accounting for 40% of Cephalon’s worldwide turnover.
The fine is the fourth and final penalty following a series of EU antitrust investigations that begun 11 years ago into “pay-for-delay” drug deals.