Commission Clears Pfizer's Proposed Acquisition of Wyeth

EU - The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the US pharmaceutical and health care products company Wyeth by the US global pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
calendar icon 17 July 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

The approval is conditional upon Pfizer's commitment to divest several types of animal health vaccines, pharmaceuticals and medicinal feed additives in the European Economic Area (EEA) or in specific Member States.

The Commission had concerns that the transaction, as originally notified, would have raised competition issues in the field of animal health products on a number of national markets. In the light of the commitments offered by Pfizer, the Commission has now concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.

Pfizer is a global research based biomedical and pharmaceutical company active in developing, manufacturing, marketing and selling innovative medicines for humans and animals. Wyeth is a pharmaceutical and healthcare company, active in the development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceuticals, vaccines, biotechnology products, nutritional supplements and over-the-counter medicines worldwide. The company's major divisions include Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Wyeth Consumer Healthcare and Fort Dodge Animal Health.

In the area of human health, the companies' activities are to a large extent complementary. Where overlaps of existing products or products under development between Pfizer's and Wyeth's activities occur, for example in the field of kidney cancer (mRCC) and antibiotics, the Commission investigated a large number of national pharmaceutical markets.

In relation to products for Alzheimer's disease, the Commission looked particularly closely into the products under development by Pfizer and Wyeth and expected future developments in this field. The Commission found that competition concerns could be excluded in these markets, because a sufficient number of competitors would remain after the transaction and potential competitors would enter these markets.

With respect to animal health, the Commission found that the proposed transaction, as originally notified, would have raised competition concerns in a significant number of national markets for animal health vaccines, pharmaceuticals and medicinal feed additives in a number of Member States where both Pfizer and Wyeth have overlapping product portfolios. In particular, the Commission was concerned that the removal of Wyeth Fort Dodge Animal Health as a competitor to Pfizer would have reduced choice or led to higher prices for customers in those markets.

To address the Commission's competition concerns, Pfizer proposed to divest a number of businesses in several national markets in the following vaccine areas - feline vaccination programmes, cattle vaccines for pasteurellosis and respiratory diseases, swine vaccines for porcine enzootic pneumonia , equine vaccines for influenza and tetanus, and several pharmaceutical areas - sedatives, antibiotics (tetracyclines, penicillins and cephalosporins) and parasiticides, and in one medicinal feed additives area - oral rehydration salts. Pfizer also offered to divest Wyeth's manufacturing facility in Sligo, Ireland.

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