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Pfizer to buy rival Pharmacia for $60 billion

Pfizer to buy rival Pharmacia for $60 billion

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NEW YORK (AP) - Pfizer Inc. announced Monday that it is buying Pharmacia Corp. for $60 billion in a deal that would give the world's biggest drug company a medicine chest full of treatments for baby-boomer ills like baldness, arthritis, impotence and high cholesterol.

The all-stock deal continues the trend toward consolidation in the pharmaceutical industry, which is scrambling to produce new blockbuster medicines while coming under growing public and government pressure to hold down drug prices.

"That this brings cost savings is obvious," Pfizer chief executive Henry McKinnell said. "But it creates a company that can grow more than the two companies could separately."

The new company would have annual revenue of $48 billion and a research-and-development budget of more than $7 billion. It would combine Pfizer's marketing prowess with Pharmacia's eye care and cancer drugs, treatments where Pfizer is not strong.

Pfizer already has a lineup that includes Lipitor (high cholesterol), Viagra (impotence) and Zoloft (depression), and its over-the-counter products include Listerine mouthwash and Visine eye drops.

Pharmacia's major drug is the arthritis medication Celebrex. It also makes Rogaine for hair loss, Nicorette stop-smoking products, the bladder-control drug Detrol, Luden's cough drops and the anti-diarrhea syrup Kaopectate.

The companies said the merger should save $2.5 billion by 2005. Both companies acknowledged there would be job cuts, but did not discuss a number.

The deal was approved by the boards of both companies. It still needs the OK from shareholders and regulators. Analysts don't expect the deal to face major regulatory hurdles, especially since the two companies don't manufacture directly competing drugs.

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