Half of all generic prescriptions could come from one supplier after the nation’s competition watchdog approved a merger between two pharmaceutical companies.
India’s Strides Pharma Science, operating in Australia and New Zealand as Arrow Pharmaceuticals, is seeking to merge with the local arm of Toronto-based company Apotex.
The pair import and distribute generic prescriptions – non-branded medications – including vitamins and drugs sold over the counter.
Combined, they will supply about 500 products or half the nation’s pharmacy market, including the Chemist Own brand currently owned by Arrow.
But the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has ruled the new entity will not hurt competition, citing the fact fellow market leaders Mylan and Sandoz are also backed by global giants.
ACCC chair Rod Sims says the ability for pharmacies to pick and choose their own suppliers will keep the larger companies in check and leave room for smaller companies to grow.
But he warned the deal will need close scrutiny.
Due diligence is ongoing, with the merger expected to take place in the 2019 financial year.