ImageIt’s March Madness Monday, and brackets are sweeping America. Meanwhile, Pharma is in the midst of a big-money, single-elimination tourney of its own: M&A.

Some of the early results are already in — Pfizer v. Wyeth, Merck v. Schering, Roche v. Genentech. But there are lots of key matchups left to go before merger mania reaches its absurd conclusion and the whole industry consolidates under one giant roof.

As always, the fanciful pairings of the Health Blog seeding committee are sure to generate controversy. What matchups did we get wrong? Who was wrongly excluded from the tourney? Who will be the last company standing? We look forward to your comments on this one.

Can’t get enough? Check out our CEO survival bracket from ‘08 and our M&A bracket
from ‘07.

CEO survival bracket

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket is out, and we’ll probably get around to filling one out by Thursday. But we might go down to the wire this year because we’ve been spending a lot of time handicapping changes in the executive suites of Big Pharma and Big Biotech.

Restless shareholders, listless labs and a tidal wave of generic competition confront the top executives at drug makers around the globe. Big Biotech has plenty of problems of its own. Did we mention pushback on prices?

So we wonder who among the leaders of the current executive pack will win the test of endurance to remain the last CEO standing? Figuring this will be a long-running competition, we included a couple of CEOs-in-waiting: Andrew Witty at GlaxoSmithKline and John Lechleiter at Eli Lilly. As for Sanofi-Aventis, we just weren’t sure whether to enter CEO Gérard Le Fur or chairman Jean-François Dehecq.

(See and print the bracket)

M&A bracket

With the NCAA men’s basketball tournament about to hit high gear, it seems all the world’s a bracket.

So as punters everywhere slough off work to make their picks in office pools, we offer the Big Pharma set a fantasy deals bracket to debate.

  • Could Pfizer’s appetite for deals and ambitions in biotech lead to a move on Amgen?
  • Could the joint venture in cholesterol drugs between Merck and Schering-Plough ever lead to marriage?
  • Might the biggest clubs in the Continental League somehow unite?

Chime in with your seeds, picks and comments. In case you’re wondering, Abbott, Bristol-Myers Squibb and J&J went to the NIT.