Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Antitrust regulators at the FTC gavethumbs up to Mylan Laboratories Inc?sacquisition of Merck KGaA?s German genericdrug operations, but only after the companiesagreed to divest 5 medicines.

In order to secure the agency?s antitrustblessing, the manufacturers approved plansto sell 5 generic drugs to Amneal Pharmaceuticals. The drugsto be divested under the arrangement include flecainideacetate, an antiarrhythmia medicine, plus 4 hypertensiontreatments: acebutol hydrochloride, sotalol hydrochloride AF,guanfacine hydrochloride, and nicardipine hydrochloride.

All 5 products were marketed by both firms, and FTC officialshad argued that, without the divestiture, the proposed $6.6-billionacquisition would have ?significantly reduced competitionfor the sale and manufacture of (these) 5 generic drugs.?

?The Commission believes strongly in the benefits of lowpricedgeneric alternatives to branded drugs and strong competitionbetween generic-drug manufacturers,? said JeffreySchmidt, director of the FTC?s Bureau of Competition. ?Theorder?will ensure that competition is maintained followingthe completion of this acquisition.? Industry sources expectthe acquisition to triple Mylan?s already solid foothold in thegeneric-pharmaceutical market.