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European Commission conditionally approves Abbott’s acquisition of St. Jude Medical

The European Commission (EC) has approved Abbott Laboratories' proposed $25bn acquisition of St Jude Medical.

The approval is conditional on Abbott selling two devices used in cardiovascular treatments.

Based in St. Paul of Minnesota, US, St. Jude Medical has five product segments including heart failure, atrial fibrillation, neuromodulation, traditional cardiac rhythm management and cardiovascular.

The commission investigated on the two areas of cardiovascular devices where both firms compete with each other.

The areas include vessel closure devices and devices used in electrophysiology procedures, specifically transseptal introducer sheaths.

Vessel closure devices will be used to close holes in arteries, helping to access the heart or vascular system to treat vascular disease.

Electrophysiology products will enable to diagnose and treat abnormalities in the timing and pattern of the heartbeat.

The EC said its investigation demonstrated that the combination of Abbott and St Jude's vessel closure could result in price rises, offering insufficient competitive pressure from the remaining players on the market.

Abbott offered to fully sell St Jude's global vessel closure devices business, including its manufacturing site in Puerto Rico In order to address the competition concerns raised by the commission.

The company also offered to divest its Vado business, including its shareholding in Kalila Medical, the company which developed Vado.

European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said: “When it comes to the interests of patients and healthcare systems, we have to make sure that prices stay competitive, that practitioners have sufficient choice and that promising innovative products are not abandoned by the merging companies.

“I am glad we have found a solution that allows this takeover to proceed, while ensuring that competition is preserved." 

Image: St. Jude Medical global headquarters. Photo: courtesy of St. Jude Medical, Inc.