The Federal Trade Commission approved Baxter‘s (NYSE:BAX) $625 million acquisition of Claris Lifesciences‘ (BOM:533288) injectable drug biz, but mandated that the companies divest two drugs products – an antifungal agent, fluconazole, and intravenous milrinone.
The FTC filed a complaint saying that the original deal would likely reduce competition in the U.S. for fluconazole since Baxter and Claris represent two of the four significant competitors selling fluconazole in saline intravenous bags. Combined, they hold an estimated market share of 60%, according to the FTC.
Similarly, the agency said that the deal would reduce future competition in the U.S. for intravenous milrinone, since the drug is only sold by three companies, including Baxter. Claris has an application pending approval with the FDA for its version of the product.
“In generic pharmaceutical markets like those at issue here, reducing the number of significant suppliers from four to three is likely to harm consumers through higher drug prices,” the FTC wrote. “Similarly, in a market with three current suppliers, depriving consumers of a pending, fourth viable supplier is likely to maintain prices at higher levels than would have occurred had the expected entry occurred.”
According to Reuters, the companies have agreed to meet the FTC’s conditions.
The merger deal was announced in December and is expected to close in the 2nd half of next year. Deerfield, Ill.-based Baxter said it plans to pay for the acquisition with cash on hand, debt or a combination of both.