Pfizer’s AstraZeneca bid under scrutiny by MPs amid fears over industry future
MPs’ inquiry urged to call for evidence from bosses as Labour warns national economic interest is at stake.
The controversial takeover of AstraZeneca by US drugs group Pfizer is to be investigated by MPs, who are being urged to take evidence from their chiefs amid fears the £63bn transaction could threaten the future health of the UK’s science base.
The inquiry comes as the AstraZeneca board faced fresh pressure from Pfizer boss Ian Read who told Wall Street that its proposal was a “compelling offer” that offered shareholders in the British company the chance to “trade up” and own a piece of a bigger company with better prospects.
Andrew Miller, the Labour MP who chairs the science and technology select committee, said he had decided to launch an investigation after senior industry figures had contacted him over the long weekend to express their concerns about the deal and confirmed he would be calling expert witnesses from both companies to give evidence at next week’s hearing.
“Very serious players in the sector have privately expressed their serious concerns to me about this proposition,” he said. “The bean-counters are debating the commercial value of this business but we are interested in the science base and the R&D [research and development] undertaken in the UK.”