The European Commission (EC) by its order dated August 04 2015 has approved the acquisition of Hospira, a US-based competitor of pharmaceutical major Pfizer. Pfizer agreed to a number of divestments to eliminate competition concerns for the approval of the merger.

Hospira has horizontal overlap with Pfizer for the manufacture of biosimilar including Infliximab- used in treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and Chron’s disease, which is one of top-three selling pharmaceuticals in the world. Currently, Hospirais one of two companies with the right to co-market aninfliximab biosimilar in the European Economic Area, and Pfizer is one of two companiesthat have infliximab biosimilars in advanced stagesof development.

The competition arose in so far as the EC considered that post-transaction Pfizer would discontinue the development of its own infliximab biosimilar or stop marketing Hospira’ infliximab biosimilar in Europe.

Pfizer agreed to divest the development, manufacturing and marketing rights in Europe associated with its own infliximab biosimilar currently under development.

The post-transaction market share of Pfizer would be extremely high as well as limited number of competitors in certain countries for sterile injectibles used as chemotherapy drugs for cancer patients. Pfizer agreed todivest the marketing authorisations and associated rightsof Pfizer or Hospira in relation to such molecules.

It may be noted that the said combination was already approved by Competition Commission of India through its order dated June 11, 2015.