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Mergers and Innovation in the Pharmaceutical Industry

27 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2012  

William S. Comanor

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Frederic M. Scherer

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: December 3, 2012

Abstract

Conflicting trends confound the pharmaceutical industry. The productivity of pharmaceutical innovation has declined in recent years. At the same time, the cohort of large companies who are the leading engines of pharmaceutical R&D has become increasingly concentrated. The concurrent presence of these trends is not sufficient to determine causation. In response to lagging innovation prospects, some companies have sought refuge in mergers and acquisitions to disguise their dwindling prospects or gain R&D synergies. On the other hand, the increased concentration brought on by recent mergers may have contributed to the declining rate of innovation. In this paper, we consider the second of these causal relationships: the likely impact of the recent merger wave among the largest pharmaceutical companies on the rate of innovation. In other words, have recent mergers, which may have been taken in response to lagging innovation, represented a selfdefeating strategy that only made industry outcomes worse?

Keywords: Pharmaceutical Mergers, Innovation

Suggested Citation

Comanor, William S. and Scherer, Frederic M., Mergers and Innovation in the Pharmaceutical Industry (December 3, 2012). American Antitrust Institute Working Paper No. 12-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2190201 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2190201

William S. Comanor (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1361
United States

Frederic M. Scherer

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-1154 (Phone)
617-496-0063 (Fax)

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