Brussels explains why it approved Pfizer/Hospira deal

Pfizer made a commitment to remove possible product overlaps between the two companies

The European Commission has published the reasons for its decision to approve Pfizer’s acquisition of Hospira, subject to conditions. Both companies develop and market pharmaceutical products.

Brussels’ decision followed Pfizer committing to divest its development, manufacturing and marketing rights to infliximab – a biosimilar drug to treat autoimmune diseases. Pfizer also agreed to divest marketing authorisations and associated rights of Pfizer or Hospira involving certain molecules of sterile injectables in markets such as ‘carboplatin’ in Belgium; ‘cytarabine’ in Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Sweden; ‘epirubicin’ in Austria, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain; and ‘irinotecan’ in Belgium, the Czech Republic and Italy.

The European Commission said: 'The final commitments remove the entire overlap between the parties in relation to the markets for which the Commission raised serious doubts.'

Brussels was initially concerned that rather than selling off its infliximab technology Pfizer would delay or discontinue development of the drug to focus on Hospira's co-marketed infliximab product (sold with Celltrion) called Remsima. It was also worried that the merger would face inadequate competition regarding the sterile injectables molecules.

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