The Competition Council accuses six pharmaceutical companies in Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Italy of forming a cartel that blackmailed the Romanian state into giving up a tax, by depriving patients of vital treatment. It is about the immunoglobulin crisis, which has been missing from Romanian pharmacies for three years.
The Competition Council says that pharmaceutical companies have deliberately withdrawn from the market medicines derived from human blood, which are essential in the treatment of serious diseases, and this has endangered public health.
“What we found is that these companies coordinated their behavior in an effort to negotiate with the Romanian state more favorable terms for their products, they were dissatisfied comparatively with the price in Romania and the fact that there was a reduction in volume. much, then you have a price reduction.
We do not dispute the right of any company to decide, whether or not to sell the product at a certain price. The problem is that these companies, instead of making decisions individually, selectively, for several years withdrew certain products from the Romanian market, creating pressure on the Romanian market, on the authorities to change the rules, to exclude these products from the clawback rate. They withdrew certain products from the market to put pressure on the government to renegotiate the terms of the contracts.
We can’t force them to sell a product if they don’t want to, but what they are not allowed to do is join forces to increase their bargaining power against the Romanian state,” Bogdan Chiriţoiu, president of the Competition Council, told Digi24.
He said that certain complaints had been received and that the investigations had been carried out in collaboration with authorities in Belgium and Italy. The investigation concerns the acts committed until 2021.
Immunoglobulin helps patients with diseases that affect the synthesis of antibodies or who are being treated for cancer. In Romania at present these medications are vital for 200 people who need daily treatment, while another 800 are treated only when needed.
First problems arose in 2016 when several manufacturers withdrew the drugs from the market because they did not understand the price, and the crisis worsened in July 2017. In 2018, the then Ministry of Health activated the Civil Protection Mechanism for Romania to obtain the necessary medicines for patients with immunodeficiency. Romania has officially asked EU and NATO countries for help in finding antibodies without which thousands of people suffering from rare diseases are in danger.