The European Commission has given Pfizer the all clear to acquire Pharmacia corporation - paving the way for the creation of the largest pharmaceutical company in the world.
The approval follows an investigation into a number of treatment areas both in human pharmaceuticals and in animal healthcare, where the transaction raised serious doubts as to the compatibility with the common market.
In reaction to the serious doubts raised by the Commission, the parties offered commitments to alleviate competition concerns. In the absence of such remedies, the merged entity would have been in a position to exploit its likely dominant positions to the detriment of consumers within the community, reports the Commission.
"We are very pleased to receive EC clearance, an important milestone toward the completion of the acquisition," said Pfizer chairman and chief executive Hank McKinnell.
The proposed merger raised serious competition concerns in human pharmaceuticals, in particular, in G4B4 Urinary Incontinence, G4B3 Erectile Dysfunction and C2A Antihypertensives (of Non-Herbal Origin) Plain, and in animal health in the market for oral penicillin for cats and dogs.
Alleviating Commission concerns, Pfizer and Pharmacia have agreed to divest Ketensin, an antihypertensive marketed in the Netherlands, and Parkemoxin, an animal antibiotic marketed in Germany. Combined annual sales for these products are approximately €2.5 million.
In addition, the companies also agreed to divest three compounds in development. These include darifenacin for overactive bladder, apomorphine nasal spray for erectile dysfunction, and PNU-142774E, also for erectile dysfunction.