Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Two more generic drug companiesare planning to join forces. WatsonPharmaceuticals Inc (Corona, Calif) hasagreed to buy smaller rival companyAndrx Corp (Davie, Fla) for $1.9 billion incash. The deal is expected to close withinthe next 6 months.

Allen Chao, PhD, chairman and chiefexecutive officer at Watson, hailed themerger as an opportunity to increase thenumber of medicines Watson has underdevelopment, add on a drug-distributionbusiness, and boost profits starting atthe beginning of 2007. "This deal willmake Watson a much stronger companyand position us for growth," with a totalof 60 drugs in the pipeline, Dr. Chao said.

When the deal closes, Watson willbecome the third-largest supplier ofgeneric drugs in the United States, followingTeva Pharmaceutical IndustriesLtd (Israel) and Mylan Laboratories Inc(Canonsburg, Pa).Watson also will benefitfrom Andrx's expertise in developingcontrolled-release drugs. In addition,the merger will increase Watson'spresence in a year when many blockbusterbrand name drugs will lose theirpatent protection and become availableto the generic market.