Italian antitrust authorities on Wednesday said it fined Swiss pharmaceutical companies Novartis and Roche over 180 million euros (247 million U.S. dollars). According to Italian new agency ANSA, the pharmaceutical companies were fined for allegedly colluding to manipulate the market in Italy. "The two companies made an illegal agreement to curtail the use of a very cheap pharmaceutical, (Roche's) Avastin, in the treatment of a widespread eye pathology among the elderly in favour of the expensive (Novartis's) Lucentis, artificially differentiating the two products," the antitrust statement read. The action cost the Italian national health service over 45 million euros in 2012 alone, the statement said, and additional costs in the future could potentially reach 600 million euros a year. Novartis and Roche have both said that the accusations were groundless and that they would appeal to administrative courts.