VILNIUS – The pharmaceutical business has always influenced governments in Lithuania, says ex-Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, leader of the opposition Democrats "For Lithuania".
In his words, pharmaceutical companies have always had a strong position in Lithuania.
"Pharmaceutical companies have always had, let's say, strong positions in Lithuania. There have been attempts to both blackmail and influence governments when it comes to pharmaceutical policy," the politician, who led the Lithuanian government in 2016-2020, told the Ziniu Radijas news radio on Friday.
In his words, the record-high fines recently imposed by the Competition Council on the Lithuanian Association of Pharmacies and eight of its members for collusion on the mark-ups of reimbursable medicines in 2017-2018 may be included in the prices of medicines, if they will have to pay the fines eventually.
Otherwise, Skvernelis said, the state may have to reimburse them to the companies, if the fined companies win in court. He believes the judicial process could be lengthy, lasting three to five years.
On Tuesday, Kristina Nemaniute-Gage, chair of the Lithuanian Association of Pharmacies, the association would appeal the Competition Council's decision.
The Competition Council said earlier on Tuesday the pharmacy association and eight pharmaceutical companies had been fined a total of almost 73 million euros for their collusion on the markups for reimbursable medicines.