It’s no surprise that drug-makers Merck and Schering-Plough have decided to merge, said Lionel Laurent in Forbes. The pharmaceutical industry is undergoing a “major facelift” in 2009—the $41-billion Merck-Schering Plough deal comes a little more than a month after Pfizer’s announcement that it was buying rival Wyeth for $68 billion. This is just the kind of consolidation you’d expect as the patents on the companies’ blockbuster drugs expire, threatening profits.
Merck’s Monday announcement of its offer for Schering Plough is still welcome news, said Andrew Willis in the Toronto Globe and Mail. “At a time when many CEOs and boards are fretting about the future, and unwilling to commit cash to takeovers, the big pharmaceutical companies are rationalizing operations and preparing for a better tomorrow.” That should give other businesses a confidence boost.
Maybe, but this is not a sign of strength, said Douglas A. McIntyre in 24/7 Wall Street. No matter how much Merck and Schering-Plough talk about the “synergy” this deal uncorks, it’s all about saving $3.5 billion a year “in a rough economy and in a world where Big Pharma companies are losing many of their profitable drugs as their patents expire.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Here comes the Pentagon's newest space plane
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Extreme haunted houses: Inside Halloween's most terrifying new trend
- Did the media get Ferguson wrong?
- How did Rick Perry escape blame for the Texas Ebola outbreak?
- Keira Knightley on Laggies, relationships, and surviving your 20s
- This week I learned the surprisingly dark origins of the Nobel Prize, and more
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- America's anti-feminist mega-corporations' toxic disregard for women must stop
- The U.S. is about to sell weapons to Vietnam. That's bad news for China.
Subscribe to the Week