Pfizer-Wyeth merger could impact Pregnant Mare Urine producers

Wyeth, a pharmaceutical company that manufactures drugs for humans and animals announced Jan. 26 it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. Pfizer is purchasing Wyeth for $68 billion.

Now, one might won-de r how this would impact Pregnant Mares Urine (PMU) farmers in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and in North Dakota.

The pregnant mare urine (PMU) is rich in estrogens and is trucked to the Wyeth processing plant at Brandon, Manitoba, where it is processed for use in menopausal drugs such as Premarin.

“There are 71 PMU farms in total. There are 15 in Saskatchewan, 53 in Manitoba and three in North Dakota. There are 5,600 brood mares in total in production,” said Norm Luba, executive director of the North American Equine Ranching Information Council (NAERIC).

Luba said his expectation is that the company would continue to produce Premarin, an estrogen product that has around since 1942. “It is an important product in the Wyeth portfolio and I am sure it will be an important product in the Pfizer portfolio,” he said.

“I’ve been told it is business as usual and until something changes that is the way we are operating,” he said.

Shane Boyes raises registered quarter-horses and is a PMU producer in southeast Saskatchewan.

“Wyeth has the only natural Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) product. They made a billion dollars from sales of Premarin alone last year. I don’t think Pfizer would dump a billion-dollar industry. We will just have to wait and see what happens,” said Boyes, NAERIC board member for Saskatchewan.

The Wyeth announcement said that the combined company will create one of the most diversified companies in the global health-care industry.

repo ted Jan. 26 that Pfizer plans to cut about 8,000 jobs, 10 per cent of its workforce, as part of what it expects will be a staff reduction totalling 15 per cent of the combined companies’ workers.

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