Concerned about the outcome of some pharmaceutical company mergers and acquisitions, federal antitrust regulators have initiated a new policy toward asset sales that legal experts say may limit the pool of potential buyers and change the calculus for certain deals.

In general, the agency scrutinizes a merger or acquisition that creates two potentially worrisome scenarios. In the first, the acquiring company might shelve a pipeline product, squelching choices for patients. In the other, the acquiring company develops the medicine, but then might control the market for that type of product, assuming it has sufficient market share, and start charging higher prices.

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