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British PM's message for Pfizer

Wednesday, May 07, 2014 - 01:22

May 7 - British Prime Minister David Cameron faces pressure from lawmakers to secure binding undertakings about jobs, research and intellectual property from Pfizer on its potential takeover of AstraZeneca. (ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION)

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TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**NONE*~ British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday (May 7) he wanted more commitments from Pfizer on its potential takeover of British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. Cameron also said he wanted an assessment from ministers on the bid from the New York-based company looking to complete Britain's biggest takeover by a foreign buyer. He refused to answer directly whether he wanted to apply a public interest test to the potential merger, but he said he agreed with Business Secretary Vince Cable who said on Tuesday (May 6) that Britain could apply the test. Pfizer on Wednesday sought to allay fears that its proposed $106 billion (62.44 billion pounds) takeover of AstraZeneca would deal a blow to drug research, saying the new company would bolster innovative science and speed the development of new treatments. The possible deal has raised fears that resulting cost cutting would see the loss of thousands of skilled jobs, undermining the UK's science base. AstraZeneca, Britain's second-largest drugs company, has rejected successive approaches from its larger American rival. As political opposition to the plan grew, Pfizer reiterated its commitment to the deal, posting a graphic on its website that touted the benefits of a merger. It said the combined group would be able to expand its global research, speed up the development of treatments and broaden its footprint in emerging markets. A combined Pfizer-AstraZeneca would be the world's largest pharmaceuticals business and save Pfizer billions of dollars in taxes by shifting its domicile to Britain, although it would still be run out of New York. On Tuesday, AstraZeneca laid out its defence strategy, touting its strong long-term growth potential as an independent company. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON, SAYING: "The commitments that have been made so far, and of course there is no offer on the table, the commitments that have been made so far are encouraging in terms of completing the Cambridge campus, making sure 20 percent of the combined company's total workforce is in the UK going forward, and it specifically mentions substantial commercial manufacturing facilities in Macclesfield. It also goes on to say that because of the patent box we've introduced, the company would look at manufacturing more in the U.K. But let me be absolutely clear - I'm not satisfied. I want more. But the way to get more is to engage, not just stand up and play party politics." (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON, SAYING: "Well, I absolutely agree with what the Business Secretary said yesterday. But let me be clear - that the most important intervention we can make is to back British jobs, British science, British R&D, British medicines and British technology. And that is why I ask the cabinet secretary and my ministers to engage with both companies right from the start of this process and I make no apology for that because we know what happens when you don't engage, when you stand back, just say you're opposed to everything, what you get is abject surrender and no guarantees for Britain. We're fighting for British science and I just think it's a pity he's trying to play politics rather than backing the national interest." 16. MORE OF PARLIAMENT IN SESSION

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British PM's message for Pfizer

Wednesday, May 07, 2014 - 01:22