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Pfizer in talks to buy drugs rival Wyeth

NEW YORK, January 23 – The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is in talks to buy rival Wyeth in a merger deal that could be worth 60 billion dollars, the Wall Street Journal said on Friday.

Pfizer, the world\’s largest drug maker in terms of revenue has been "in discussions for months" with Wyeth, maker of the pediatric vaccine Prevnar, the newspaper said citing people familiar with the matter.

Pfizer\’s products include the anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor and the erectile stimulant Viagra.

The combined revenue of the two is about 75 billion dollars, the report said, noting however that a deal was not imminent.

The sources also warned that "given recent market volatility and overall economic uncertainty, the talks are especially fragile and could collapse," the paper said.

Spokesmen from both companies declined to comment, the report said.

A merger deal could help both sides cut costs through combined back-office operations, sales, manufacturing and research and development.

Down the road, both companies are looking ahead to the expiration of patents on some of their most profitable drugs, combined with tough competition from generic drug makers.

New York-based Pfizer employs 83,400 people and has slashed 15,000 jobs since January 2007 and is preparing to cuts thousands more jobs in the coming months. Wyeth, based in New Jersey, counts 46,000 employees.

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