• Allergan unit to divest most of U.K. and Irish business
  • EU says remedies allay concerns over generics competition

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. won European Union approval for its takeover of Allergan Plc’s generics unit after allaying regulators’ concerns with concessions including the sale of “the great majority” of the subsidiary’s U.K. and Irish business.

The European Commission “had concerns that the merged entity would have faced insufficient competition from the remaining players for a number of generic pharmaceuticals, as well as regarding the overall generics business in the U.K., Ireland and Iceland,” it said Thursday. “The commitments offered by the companies address these concerns."

Teva’s bid for Allergan’s generics drugs business will make it the world’s largest maker of generic medicines, giving it greater negotiating power with governments and private-health insurers. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is still examining the transaction, which Brazil’s antitrust regulator approved without conditions in December.

Teva said in an e-mailed statement that it “continues to work closely with the FTC to obtain regulatory approval in the U.S.”

Completion ‘Soon’

“Antitrust reviews of Teva’s agreement to acquire Allergan’s global generic-drug business may soon be complete,” Jennifer Rie, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, said in a report Wednesday. Like in the EU, “divestitures will likely be needed for U.S. antitrust clearance. Teva has indicated it’s talking with potential buyers for assets it may have to sell.”

Teva, which introduced a copy of the heartburn pill Nexium last year, estimates one in seven generic prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. involves one of its products. Allergan, better known for its Botox wrinkle-smoothing injections, also makes cheaper versions of drugs like Eli Lilly & Co.’s anti-depressant Cymbalta.

The EU said the commitments package also includes divestment Teva’s portfolio of marketed medicines and experimental drugs in development in Iceland as well as each of the marketed molecules and molecules in development pipeline giving rise to competition concerns in 24 European nations.

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