Major OTC Acquisitions, Expansion Likely In 2014
This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet
With Merck & Co. and Novartis potentially divesting consumer product divisions, analysts see Bayer and Reckitt Benckiser as possible buyers looking to increase their OTC presence. Switches, consumer business expansion plans are also likely to shape 2014.
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Merck executives shift their position about the potential divestiture of its non-pharma assets, including the consumer health business. J.P. Morgan analysts expect a sale of the consumer unit, and say Merck’s brands including Claritin and Coppertone could grow globally with a new owner.
A P&G petition revives the firm’s argument that future OTC proton pump inhibitors should be held to the same labeling language as Prilosec OTC. The firm also argues that the NDA process can allow labeling that unfairly gives some products marketplace advantages over category competitors.
Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez made clear the firm is considering divesting its consumer product, animal health and vaccines and diagnostics business, Sanford and Bernstein analysts say. “It seems that Novartis will be making final decisions with these units fairly soon,” they say.