Should Pharma take the M&A cure?

What's Big Pharma's best hope for weathering the next few years of expiring patents and patchy pipelines? M&A, says London's Financial Times. That's not exactly revolutionary, of course; there were almost 1,000 deals in pharma/healthcare for the first half of 2007, according to Pricewaterhouse Coopers. But the Financial Times fingers a few potential acquisition targets, including U.S.-based Sepracor and the UK's Shire Pharmaceuticals.

But not so fast: The newspaper also notes that Merck has steadily improved its lot by avoiding acquisitions. Pfizer, on the other hand, bought Warner-Lambert and Pharmacia, becoming the world's largest drug maker by sales. Whose stock has performed best? Merck's. Maybe bigger isn't better.

- read the M&A report from the Financial Times
- check out the Merck v. Pfizer article

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