The European Union has fined two drugmakers for complicity in keeping cheap alternative sleep medication off the market for their profits and at patients’ expense.

The European Union’s antitrust commissioner, Margaret Westager, said that Teva and Cephalon, a company that later acquired the first company, should pay 60.5 million euros ($ 72 million) for their agreement between themselves to delay the launch of a cheaper version of the drug. Modafinil produced by Cephalon. In exchange for the delay, Tifa was offered beneficial side deals and some payments.

“The payment for delay agreement between Teva and Cephalon has harmed patients and national health systems, depriving them of affordable drugs,” Vestager said.

Modafinil treats excessive daytime sleepiness and is under the brand name Provigil and accounts for more than 40 percent of Cephalon’s turnover.

The cheap alternative could have had a serious impact on the company, and the European Union argued that Cephalon had lured Teva in 2005 to stay out of its market. And in 2011, Cephalon was acquired by Tifa.

Tifa said in a statement that she maintains her innocence, adding, “We continue to believe that the Modafinil Patent Settlement Agreement did not violate competition law in the European Union with regard to principles” established by the European Union Court of Justice, “We plan to file an appeal,” according to the company.

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