Pfizer-AstraZeneca antibiotics deal on track for clearance in Brazil

First published on 29 November 2016. By Ana Paula Candil.

Pfizer’s $1.5 billion buyout of AstraZeneca’s antibiotics business is close to receiving Brazilian antitrust clearance without conditions, MLex has learned.

Third parties queried by the regulator didn’t raise competition concerns about the deal, which has already been approved in all other jurisdictions required: Austria, Cyprus and Ukraine.

Pfizer and AstraZeneca filed paperwork with the Brazilian Administrative Council for Economic Defense, or CADE, through the fast-track procedure. But in October, antitrust officials said the deal couldn’t be reviewed under that procedure because it was seen as possible that the companies’ combined share in some market would surpass 20 percent.

In Brazil, companies must file a full form in horizontal transactions that create businesses with more than a 20 percent market share.

The companies said in their initial submissions to CADE that the deal involves two products currently marketed by AstraZeneca in Brazil: “Zinforo,” which contains ceftaroline fosamil, and “Meronem,” which contains meropenem. Market share figures are confidential.

Meropenem is an ultra-broad-spectrum injectable antibiotic used to treat a wide variety of infections. Zinforo is an advanced-generation cephalosporin antibiotic.

CADE sent questionnaires in September and October asking customers and rivals for their opinions of the deal. Most answers were neutral, with rival drugmaker Novartis saying that the deal won’t give a leadership position to the companies. Mylan Brasil Distribuidora de Medicamentos said it sees the deal as a “normal transaction in the pharmaceutical market.”

Cimed, Uniao Quimica Farmaceutica Nacional and Produtos Roche Químicos e Farmacêuticos all said they don’t have an opinion about the deal. Cimed said it doesn’t operate in the markets affected by the transaction. EMS’s opinion of the deal is confidential.

Pharmaceutical company Eurofarma, however, called CADE’s attention to the fact that Pfizer holds Laboratório Teuto, which “has a strong hospital portfolio.” Eurofarma said it fears that Teuto would gain advantages over competitors.

Shares of Pfizer trade on the New York Stock Exchange. AstraZeneca is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

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