Issue Date: May 18, 2009
MERCK IS PAYING $41 billion for Schering-Plough, which paid AzkoNobel $14 billion for Organon Biosciences, while Pfizer is set to pay $68 billion for Wyeth, and Roche will buy the remaining 44% of Genentech for $46.8 billion (C&EN, March 16, page 5). This is a total of $169.8 billion, and meanwhile the international banking system failed and still has not started lending to ordinary clients! What is going on? This strikes me as an arms race taking place among giant firms while health care costs increase astronomically for everyone else.
Will Merck and others lower their prices? Will they find new, nongeneric drugs to cure existing and drug-resistant diseases at lower costs? Will the merger mania end with one or two enormous pharmaceutical firms having a "corner" on the drug market?
Richard S. Greeley
St. Davids, Pa.
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