The European Commission, under the EU Merger Regulation, has approved the acquisition of Bard by BD, subject to conditions. Both US-based companies supply medical devices including catheters, stents, surgical instruments, devices for biopsies, and patient monitoring systems.
The merger is conditional upon BD divesting in its core needle biopsy devices business, and in a tissue marker product that is still in development.
“The conditions we have imposed on this merger will help to ensure that millions of European patients and Member States’ healthcare systems in the EU, will continue to enjoy access at fair prices to a variety of innovative medical devices,” said commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who is charge of competition policy.
The Commission state that they have concerns that the merger would have removed choice and innovation in the area of core needle biopsy devices, as this market faces “limited competitive pressure.”
Similarly, Bard and BD are two of just a few competitors in the field of tissue marker devices for marking a biopsy site. The Commission declared that due to BD’s in-development tissue marker product, the merger may have eliminated a future credible competitor and again reduce innovation in this area.
BD has agreed with the Commission, and has committed to divesting in these two areas of its business so that the merger may proceed.
In April of this year, BD announced its intention to acquire Bard for US$24 billion (£18.2b, €20.3b), an agreement that was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies.
In August, Bard was the first company granted premarket approval from the USA FDA for its Lutonix 035 DCB drug-coated balloon catheter for use in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients.