WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A group of unions and consumer groups wrote to U.S. antitrust enforcers on Tuesday to oppose a proposed remedy that could lead to U.S. approval for AbbVie Inc’s (ABBV.N) planned purchase of Allergan Plc (AGN.N).

In its letter to the Federal Trade Commission, which is reviewing the merger to ensure it is legal, the groups argued that a plan for the companies to divest Allergan’s brazikumab, which is being developed to treat ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, was inadequate to resolve antitrust concerns raised by the planned deal.

AbbVie did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The groups argued that the proposed buyer, AstraZeneca, appeared to have little incentive to bring the drug to market and that rebates offered by AbbVie for its Skyrizi drug would slow brazikumab’s success in the market since both drugs treat similar ailments.

“We are skeptical that the divestiture to AstraZeneca of Allergan’s brazikumab, a drug in development, can adequately address the anticompetitive effects of the merger,” said the letter, which was signed by the American Federation of Teachers, Families USA, U.S. PIRG Education Fund, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), American Federation of State, County, & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and 12 other groups.

The $63 billion deal, which is expected to close this quarter, was approved by the European Union in January.

The deal was initially announced in June as a way for AbbVie to win control over the lucrative wrinkle treatment Botox and buy time to seek new growth before its blockbuster arthritis treatment Humira loses U.S. patent protection. AbbVie Chief Executive Richard Gonzalez said at the time that the company was able to buy Allergan because of the cash that Humira generates.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Dan Grebler

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

CBS News gets first-hand experience with coronavirus, disrupting its New York operations

New York (CNN Business)CBS News is experiencing the coronavirus crisis at home while covering it in real time. The New York offices of the network news division have been closed ever since two employees tested positive for the virus on…

Will the new Covid-19 job support package be enough?

Was this the missing piece of the jigsaw? Until today we had interest rate cuts, commercial loan guarantees, mortgage repayment relief, grants for small firms – all designed to prop up businesses and households in the face of the economic…

Mass protests wrecked Hong Kong’s economy. A virus scare is the last thing the city needs

Hong Kong (CNN Business)Months of increasingly violent protests and a bruising US-China trade war pushed Hong Kong into a recession last year for the first time in a decade. Now the coronavirus outbreak threatens to derail things once again. Officials…

Oil crashes after Saudi Arabia declares price war amid coronavirus

TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices plummeted around 30% on Monday, with U.S. oil heading for its biggest loss on record, after Saudi Arabia slashed prices and set plans for a dramatic increase in crude production in April. Prices fell by…