Written by Ilona Ronay
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Topics: Congress, Washington

Sunday, 6 November 2005

image for Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer Merge; Combined Giant To Purchase FDA and Congress
Look For New Exciting DTC Drugs from J.J. Mizer

Washington, DC--Global pharmaceutical giants Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer today announced plans to merge and to purchase the FDA and both houses of Congress in an attempt to soothe investors' frayed nerves and to streamline the drug-approval process.

Billy Tauzin, former Republican senator from Louisiana, is expected to be named Chairman of the Board of the new corporation, which will be called J. J. Mizer, or sometimes just J.J. or Mizer, for short.

It is not yet clear whether J & J's William Weldon, Merck's Raymond Gilmartin, Pfizer's Hank McConnell, or an as-yet-unknown name will head the new corporation. Senate majority leader Bill Frist has also been mentioned as a possible contender for the top CEO spot.

"We like the way the initials J.J. evoke both the history of Johnson & Johnson as well as echo the stylish elegance and good taste of J. Crew and J. Jill," said one person involved in the negotiations. "And the word mizer draws upon the M in Merck and the izer in Pfizer to project an image of thrift, caution, and judicious use of money."

One of the first steps Mizer will take will be to offer FDA officials and Congressional members payment in stock options and in samples of Vioxx, Celebrex, and Bextra instead of cash. "We don't plan any mass layoffs," said one spokesperson. "We merely want to soldify the relationship between the FDA, the pharmaceutical industry, and Congress."

Other immediate plans Mizer has include a refocusing away from vaccines and orphan drugs and a push for new and longer-lasting drugs for erectile dysfunction, as well as drugs that increase female sexuality.

Madison Avenue is hopeful that this merger, which the Bush Administration has lauded as "the best way to ensure the safety and fair pricing of drugs for all Americans," will result in massive new direct-to-consumer campaigns and lift the advertising industry out of its doldrums.

"We're looking at some new and exciting eMarketing inititives," said one advertising agency executive."Specifically, wouldn't it be great if we could advertise direct-to-consumer and send samples at the same time? Wouldn't it be great if your TV could write your prescription for a new drug and fax it to you? That way, you could bypass your doctor altogether!"

Mizer will also take over as the accrediting body for all CME materials for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists, meaning that it will both create and approve all print and online educational materials for health care professionals.

"It was always such a tug of war the old way," said an industry spokesperson. "We always had to put in all this boring and upsetting information about side effects. Who wants to read that kind of stuff when it's a new day, when freedom is on the march, when things have never looked better, and when Americans are hungry for hope? Now, our drug ads and CME materials can focus on old people running through fields of flowers and fishing in placid streams."

The stock market reacted to the proposed merger by shutting down early and celebrating.

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