DAVID GREENE, HOST:
NPR's Business News begins with backing off of a big deal. Well, it would have been the biggest takeover the pharmaceutical industry had seen in over a decade, but for now it is off the table. Pfizer has withdrawn its offer to buy the British drug company AstraZeneca for about $119 billion, as NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports.
ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: The American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which makes Lipitor and Viagra, has been circling its smaller rival AstraZeneca for months. AstraZeneca, which makes Nexium and Crestor, has rejected every offer saying Pfizer undervalues the company and that it wants to remain independent.
There were fears that jobs and research facilities in the U.K. would be lost. Had the deal gone through, Pfizer could had reincorporated in Brighton and taken advantage of lower taxes. Inversions, as they're called, annoy members of Congress who say they erode the U.S. corporate tax base. Both companies face stiff competition in the future as more and more people turn to cheaper generic drugs. Elizabeth Blair, NPR News.