UPDATE 1-Pfizer pledges to ringfence drug development in AstraZeneca deal

Wed May 14, 2014 6:29am EDT
 
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* Pfizer CEO questioned by UK lawmakers for a second day

* Rejects suggestion critical drugs could be delayed

* UK minister, scientists seek longer commitment on UK jobs (Adds quotes)

By Ben Hirschler and Paul Sandle

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) - Pfizer said it would ringfence the development of important drugs if it acquired AstraZeneca, rejecting a charge from the British company that a takeover would disrupt important research and put lives at risk.

"As we put these companies together, we will continue with our pipeline, AZ will continue with theirs," Pfizer's Chief Executive Ian Read told lawmakers on a second day of questioning about what could be the biggest ever UK corporate deal.

"There is absolutely no truth to any comment that some products of critical nature would be delayed getting to patients, if anything we would accelerate that to patients."

AstraZeneca said on Tuesday that Pfizer's proposal risked disrupting its research and delaying getting life-saving new drugs to market, as well as undervaluing the business.

"What will we tell the person whose father died from lung cancer because one of our medicines was delayed - and essentially was delayed because in the meantime our two companies were involved in saving tax and saving costs?" the British company's Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said on Tuesday.   Continued...