Watson receives FTC approval for Actavis purchase; must divest certain products

Watson Pharmaceuticals received clearance from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for its 4.3-billion euro ($5.6 billion) acquisition of Actavis after agreeing to divest 18 products to Par Pharmaceutical and Novartis' Sandoz unit, and relinquishing the manufacturing and marketing rights to three others. Watson noted that it has now obtained all regulatory approvals required to close the transaction, which is expected to happen in late October or early November.

The FTC said the proposed settlement would protect "competition in the markets for 21 current and future generic drugs, used to treat a wide range of conditions ranging from hypertension and diabetes to anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder." The regulator noted that seven of the drugs involve currently-marketed products, while eight involve generic drugs that either Watson or Actavis currently sell or have in development, including generic versions of GlaxoSmithKline's smoking cessation therapy Zyban (bupropion) and Biovail's Cardizem CD (diltiazem), which treats hypertension and angina.

The six remaining medicines are in development by both Watson and Actavis, and include an acne treatment and an extended-release patch used to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

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