How should we regard Pfizer's promises?

Pfizer has given Downing Street some commitments about its bid for AstraZeneca. For example it would keep 20% of Research and Development in the UK.

The Swedish Finance minister Anders Borg almost laughs when I ask how we should regard Pfizer's promises. "You should be very, very sceptical," he says.

Sweden used to have two big pharma companies; Astra became part of AstraZeneca and still employs thousands of people here. Pharmacia was bought by Pfizer and has gone from having 5000 employees to 500, says Borg. "No one expected the brutal downsizing" he says.

Not everyone says the demise of Pharmacia was a total disaster. Professor Ulf Landegren says it actually helped the new start-ups in his bio tech field, but admits that's "a consolation".

Former Pharmacia employee Mats Marschall says simply that AstraZeneca employees in Sweden and in Britain should be very worried if Pfizer takes over.

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