18 Jul 2009

EU approves Pfizer-Wyeth merger

11:26 am on 18 July 2009

The European Commission has approved a proposed merger of US drug makers Pfizer and Wyeth, subject to Pfizer renouncing some products in Europe.

Pfizer announced the $US68 billion merger proposal in January. Best known for Viagra and the anti-cholesterol treatment Lipitor, as well as AIDS drugs, Pfizer is already the biggest pharmaceutical company in the world.

The company previously acquired Warner-Lambert Co. for $US93.4 billion in 2000.

It seeking diversification as it prepares for the expiration of patents on its blockbuster drugs.

The EU said on Friday the merger is conditional on "Pfizer's commitment to divest several types of animal health vaccines, pharmaceuticals and medicinal feed additives" in the European Economic Area.

The EEA includes the 27 members of the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

A statement on Pfizer's website said approval by competition authorities in the United States, China and other jurisdictions is still awaited, as well as approval from Wyeth shareholders.