U.S. removes roadblock to Actavis-Warner Chilcott deal
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal regulators on Friday removed a roadblock to drugmaker Actavis Inc's purchase of Warner Chilcott Plc after Actavis agreed to sell all rights and assets related to three oral contraceptives and an osteoporosis treatment.
The Federal Trade Commission said it settled charges that the $8.5 billion deal would be anticompetitive because of the companies' stranglehold on certain drugs.
As part of the proposed settlement, Actavis agreed to sell all rights and assets related to generic Femcon FE, Loestrin 24 FE and its generic equivalents, and Lo Loestrin FE and its generic equivalents, all contraceptives; and the osteoporosis treatment Atelvia and its generic equivalents.
The commission said Actavis and Warner Chilcott are the only significant manufacturers of generic Femcon FE, a chewable oral contraceptive tablet that contains progestin and estrogen.
Without a remedy, the proposed deal would have eliminated competition between them in the market for the drug, and "the reduction in the number of suppliers likely would have a direct and substantial effect on pricing," the FTC said.
Warner Chilcott sells the branded drugs Loestrin 24 FE, Lo Loestrin FE and Atelvia, but no company currently sells generic versions. According to the FTC complaint, Actavis is likely to be the first generic supplier to compete with Warner Chilcott's branded versions of those drugs.
"The merged firm would have the ability to delay the entry of Actavis' generic product in each of these markets," the commission said.
The FTC's proposed consent agreement is subject to public comment through October 28.
Shareholders of the two companies approved Actavis' proposed purchase earlier this month. The companies have said the deal is expected to close early in the fourth quarter.
Actavis shares were at $144.69, up 1.4 percent, and Warner Chilcott shares were at $23.17, up 1.4 percent, in afternoon trading.
(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and John Wallace)
WASHINGTON - U.S. economic growth accelerated more than expected in the second quarter and the decline in output in the prior period was less steep than previously reported, bolstering views for a stronger performance in the last six months of the year.
BEIJING/HONG KONG - China reiterated its opposition on Thursday to a European Union plan to limit airline carbon dioxide emissions and called for talks to resolve the issue a day after its major airlines refused to pay any carbon costs under the new law.