PHARMACEUTICALS: Prescription For a Merger

Prescription For a Merger

Tums, meet Tagamet. The race to create global pharmaceutical companies inspired a transatlantic merger last week. London's Beecham Group, maker of Tums antacid, and Philadelphia's SmithKline Beckman, developer of the anti- ulcer drug Tagamet, said they will form a company with more than $6.7 billion in total sales. The merged corporation, to be renamed SmithKline Beecham, will rank No. 2 in the pharmaceutical world to New Jersey-based Merck.

The move comes none too soon for SmithKline, which has suffered from declining Tagamet sales as the once revolutionary drug faces increased competition. Industry experts see the two companies as a good match....

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