fizer has been told to provide more information regarding its proposed multibillion dollar acquisition of Wyeth by antitrust regulators in the USA.
The New York-based drugs giant said that the request for additional information from the Federal Trade Commission, known as a “second request”, was “anticipated as part of the regulatory process”. As such, Pfizer and Wyeth believe that this will not delay the closing of the merger which is scheduled for the third or fourth quarter.
No details were disclosed as to the nature of the additional information required. However Pfizer said that it “intends to respond expeditiously to this request and continue to work cooperatively with the FTC in connection with its review”.
When the transaction was announced, the value of the purchase was put at $68 million, though the final figure will change as it is a cash-and-stock deal.
Trovan deal imminent
Meantime, it finally appears that Pfizer is agreeing terms to settle a lawsuit brought by the Nigerian state of Kano which had accused the firm of improperly conducting a clinical trial of its antibiotic Trovan (trovafloxacin). The authorities in Kano had alleged that the trial, carried out in 1996, resulted in the death of 11 children.
Pfizer has vehemently denied that Trovan caused the deaths and extensive damage to the health of children in Kano. It claims that they were due to an outbreak of meningitis in the northern state.
However it seems that an out-of-court settlement has been agreed, according to lawyers for both sides. Kano had demanded $2 billion in damages in the original May 2007 suit but reports claim that the settlement figure is in the region of $75 million.
Pfizer's lead counsel in the case, Anthony Idigbe, said that a “broad and principal fundamental agreement has been reached” but the details need to be worked out. The company is looking to set up procedures to prevent any misappropriation of funds coming out of the settlement, as well as agreements relating to specific health initiatives to be addressed with the money.
Nigeria's federal government also sued Pfizer for $7 billion in 2007 over the Trovan trial, although it is expected to withdraw the suit if the Kano case is settled.