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Pharmacists Fill Prescription For Amended Challenge To Pfizer-Wyeth Deal

Posted  October 20, 2009

A group of California pharmacies seeking to block Pfizer’s proposed buyout of Wyeth has already filled the prescription for an amended complaint in response to last week’s dismissal of their suit alleging the deal would be unhealthy for competition and jobs.

U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney in San Francisco had given the pharmacies until Nov. 6 to cure their complaint, which she dismissed for failing to show in which product markets the acquisition would eliminate competition.  The deal has already received FTC approval.

One representative of the California Pharmacists Association claimed the acquisition would “create the largest pharmaceutical company in the world,” thus giving it power to raise drug prices.  A Pfizer representative countered that the suit was “without merit.”

Pfizer and Wyeth produce drugs that compete with each other, thus creating fears of a monopolistic producer of essential medical products.  For example, Pfizer producers Zoloft, while Wyeth produces Effexor, which are both antidepressants.

The combined Wyeth-Pfizer company would control about 40 percent of the manufacture and sale of prescription drugs in the United States, with the next largest competitor producing 13 percent.

Another major complaint of the plaintiffs is the use of federal funds for a transaction that would result in eliminating jobs.  The $22.5 billion in financing for the deal comes largely from banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, which have received federal bailout money.

The plaintiffs seek both a temporary restraining order and an injunction against the acquisition.

Tagged in: Antitrust Enforcement, Monopolization,