Romania Insider, March 20, 2012

Pharma companies in Romania fined EUR 12 mln for export stop agreement

Romania’s Competition Council applied a EUR 12 million fine to 11 pharma companies, after investigating Bayer, Sintofarm and their distributors in Romania for anti-competition agreements. The Council recently finalized another investigation in the pharma sector, but none of the investigated companies were fined.
Pharma producers Bayer and Sintofarm and their distributors Mediplus, Polisano, Relad, Farmexim, Farmexpert, Fildas, Montero, ADM, Pharmafarm were fined in the first investigation for having agreed to stop the export of Bayer and Sintofarm products. “The agreements involved restricting competition by isolating the Romanian market and preventing trade on other markets, including the joint market,” said Bogdan Chiritoiu, president of the Competition Council.
The biggest fine went to Mediplus, which will have to pay EUR 2.6 million. Next is Farmexpert, with a fine of EUR 2.5 million. Bayer’s fine is some EUR 1.6 million. The lowest fine was for Sintofarm, which will have to pay EUR 14,500.
The second investigation in the pharma sector ended without penalties. The Council looked into a potential competition infringement by the members of the Association of Drug Distributors and Importers and members of the Association of Drug Distributors in Romania. This investigation started in 2008 after companies decided to stop drug deliveries to hospitals and pharmacies. According to pharma companies, this was due to the Health Ministry’s refusal to adjust the price of drugs in line with foreign currency exchange. In the end, the Health Ministry adjusted the exchange rate used, so the Council decided to end the investigation without any fines. However, it will closely monitor companies that are part of the two associations.
The decision in this case was announced by law firm Muşat & Asociaţii, which represented Farmexim.

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