ReutersApr 20, 2014
U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has approached British rival AstraZeneca to propose a 60 billion pound [$101 billion] takeover, the Sunday Times reported on Sunday. The paper said, citing senior investment bankers and industry sources, that informal conversations about a deal had taken place between the two firms but that no talks were currently under way after AstraZeneca resisted the approach. AstraZeneca is Britain’s second-biggest pharmaceuticals group with a current market valuation of around $80 billion, compared with Pfizer, which is valued at $193 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data…
New York TimesBy MICHAEL J. DE LA MERCED and ANDREW POLLACKApril 21, 2014
The British drug company AstraZeneca said no to a tie-up with Pfizer, turning down the possibility of one of the biggest drug mergers in recent history. Whether such a deal would have made sense is another matter, because the British drug maker is trying to improve its fortunes on its own and Pfizer in the past has found that big acquisitions can sometimes prove more distracting than helpful.In recent months, Pfizer made a number of informal takeover approaches to AstraZeneca, according to a person briefed on the matter who is not authorized to speak publicly about internal discussions. One of those tentative approaches valued the smaller pharmaceutical company at about £60 billion, or nearly $100 billion, according to The Sunday Times. At that level, the deal would be one of the biggest ever in the pharmaceutical industry, surpassing Pfizer’s $90 billion takeover of Warner-Lambert…
For these companies, the passage through the universe of CNS drugs was a lucrative but time limited season in their endless travels through the gamespace provided by our patent laws. The companies played on two simple themes – the SSRIs and the Clozaril derivatives. But in the day, it seemed like there was so much more happening. It was only as the cycles wound down that we heard all the talk about "me too" drugs. Part of that illusion of bigness was from all the activity generated by the indication sprawl and off-label prescribing.
While waves of pharmaceutical products have swept through many medical specialties [eg antihypertensives, antibiotics, statins, anticoagulants], I’m not aware of any that have had such a profound effect on a medical specialty as the psychopharmacologic agents had on psychiatry. The first wave in the 1950s is easily understood. The drugs treated things formerly untreatable by drugs, or much else. The second wave landed on a psychiatry struggling with redefining its medical identity in an age of Managed Care. House Psychiatry and House PHARMA formed an alliance that seemed forged in steel [that fit with House Managed Care perfectly]. They thrived for twenty years while the boundaries between them became increasingly indistinct.
“There are huge unmet clinical needs in mental disorders and addiction,” said Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D., incoming president-elect of APA and chair of psychiatry at Columbia University, who moderated the morning session. “There should be tremendous interest in this area, but there is not.”
There was a time when I used to wonder why psychiatry was so vulnerable to the pharmaceutical industry. Why did so many KOLs race over to the dark side? Why did the specialty wrap itself almost exclusively around psychopharmacology practices? But I can feel the biases in all my answers so I’ll wait and buy the definitive history when it’s written. Another question: How does the big push for Collaborative Care fit into all of this? Surely it has something to do with responding to the exodus of PHARMA, but I’m not sure how it fits.