EU Approves Pfizer-Hospira Deal With Strings

06.08.2015 -

European regulatory authorities have approved the $15.2 billion takeover of injectable drug and infusion device maker Hospira by US drugmaker Pfizer, subject to certain conditions.

The Commission gave its blessing after Pfizer agreed to sell rights to some sterile injection drugs in the European Economic Area (EEA), including an experimental biosimilar version of the immune disorder drug infliximab (Remicade) and several additional products, including chemotherapy drugs.

On the divestment list in addition to Remicade are the antifungal drug voriconazole throughout the EEA and the chemotherapy drugs carboplatin, cytarabine, epirubicin, and irinotecan, along with and the antibiotic vancomycin in a few countries.

Brussels said it was concerned the deal would have led to overlaps in the Pfizer portfolio for sterile injectables and biosimilars and would have reduced competition for certain drugs in  some countries or in the European Economic Area as a whole, In particular, it posed the threat of price rises as well as the discontinuation of the development of infliximab.

"This is not just about keeping prices low for patients and healthcare services," said Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. "We have also made sure," she added, that the merger of Pfizer / Hospira does not stand in the way of the research and development of medication that could have huge benefits for society ".

New York –based Pfizer, world’s second-largest pharmaceutical producer in terms of revenue, agreed to buy Hospira of Illinois in February of this year to strengthen its position in the growing market for biosimilars. Pfizer expects to complete the acquisition before the end of 2015.