Schering-Plough to remain independent, Hassan says

Schering-Plough will stay independent, CEO Fred Hassan said. “We don’t need a merger, we are doing fine by ourselves,” Hassan said during an interview at the biennial meeting of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufactures and Associations (IFPMA) in Geneva last week. Hassan’s comments follow recent weeks of industry-wide speculation about possible M&A deals involving Schering-Plough. Last month, Business Week’s “Inside Wall Street” column suggested the company could be scooped up by Merck or Johnson & Johnson, or combined with Bristol-Myers Squibb. When asked if he had considered a merger with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Hassan told Reuters: “Not that more than any others, I mean we always have to look at the landscape and going forward but it is not necessarily a priority for us.” Hassan told he plans to focus on Schering-Plough’s research after spending his first three years at the company improving the company’s balance sheet. “CEOs have to get much closer to R&D,” Hassan said. “I really think that is the biggest challenge in our industry.” Hassan was the former CEO of Pharmacia until Pfizer bought the company in April 2003. Later that month, Hassan was appointed Schering-Plough CEO. Hassan was in Geneva to take the reins as president of IFPMA from its previous leader, Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella. IFPMA is a global, nonprofit group representing the world’s research-based pharmaceutical, biotech and vaccine companies.

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