Eli Lilly & Co. said it hopes to receive antitrust clearance by Nov. 3 for its proposed acquisition of drug-benefits manager, PCS Health Systems.
The Indianapolis-based drugmaker agreed to extend the waiting period required for an acquisition under antitrust law so it can continue talks with the Federal Trade Commission. Lilly declined to elaborate on their nature.
Press reports last week, however, said lawyers for Lilly have agreed to accept restrictions on its operation of PCS. Lilly would be prohibited from denying competitors access to the PCS formulary and from seeing their bids, the reports said.
Meanwhile, Sens. David Pryor (D-Ark.) and Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio) are urging the FTC to review two similar acquisitions that have been completed.
Pharmacy groups have said such deals represent an inherent conflict of interest because they potentially give drug manufacturers control over billions of dollars in drug purchases (Oct. 24, p. 8). Retail pharmacies, which compete against drug-benefits managers, argue that the mergers will raise the prices they pay.
Those concerns reflect a "misunderstanding of the marketplace," a Lilly spokesman said last week.
Lilly's $76-per-share offer for McKesson Corp., which owns PCS, is scheduled to expire Nov. 7. The tender offer might be extended because of the complexity of the deal, which involves spinning off McKesson into a new corporation.