A coalition of consumer groups and unions hopes to convince the Federal Trade Commission to alter the terms of AbbVie’s (ABBV) proposed $63 billion acquisition of Allergan (AGN) by arguing the deal — as currently conceived — would thwart competition and unfairly maintain higher drug prices for consumers.
In a letter to the agency Tuesday, the coalition contends that allowing Allergan to divest an experimental medicine for treating Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis to AstraZeneca (AZN) would fail to ensure the market for such medicines would be fully competitive. The companies last month proposed to divest the drug, brazikumab, and one other in a bid to satisfy regulatory concerns about the acquisition.
By doing so, AbbVie hopes the FTC will agree that the drug maker will be less likely to dominate the market for such treatments. Brazikumab is in a class of medicines known as IL-23 inhibitors, and last year AbbVie won U.S. regulatory approval for such a drug, called Skyrizi for combating plaque psoriasis, although it is also being tested for Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.