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Pharmaceutical industry

Pfizer may sell off consumer business

Company believes consumer healthcare category is worth more if it is sold on than if it is kept as part of the organisation.

US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has announced that it is likely to sell its consumer healthcare business.

In the UK, the drug company makes and sells over-the-counter (OTC) brands such as Anadin, Centrum vitamins, Robitussin cough syrups and ChapStick lip balm.

Pfizer said the decision was part of its efforts to “reallocate resources and capital to best serve patients and maximise value for shareholders”.

Ian Read, chairman and chief executive of the group said: “Pfizer consumer healthcare is a leading player in the largest OTC categories, with iconic brands, robust retail partnerships, global reach and strong fundamentals.

“Although there is a strong connection between consumer healthcare and elements of our core biopharmaceutical businesses, it is also distinct enough from our core business that there is potential for its value to be more fully realized outside the company.

“By exploring strategic options, we can evaluate how best to fuel the future success and expansion of consumer healthcare while simultaneously unlocking potential value for our shareholders.” 

The company has said that it is reviewing strategic alternatives for its consumer healthcare business, including a full or partial separation of the business through a spin-off, sale or other transaction. A final decision on the future of the business will be taken in 2018.

In 2016, Pfizer’s consumer healthcare unit, which makes leading non-prescription medicines and vitamins, generated revenues of around US$3.4bn (£2.6bn).

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20203741

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