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Novartis, Leiner augment their O-T-C portfolios.

NEW YORK -- Two over-the-counter product lines are changing hands.

Leiner Health Products is purchasing certain nonprescription assets of Pharmaceutical Formulations Inc. (PFI) The transaction is expected to expand Leiner's success in the store brand market.

Novartis AG is acquiring the North American over-the-counter brand portfolio of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. The $660 million transaction will significantly strengthen Novartis' presence in the United States, paced by the addition of the Excedrin line of analgesics.

Leiner is purchasing substantially all of the assets associated with PFI's nonprescription solid-dose pharmaceutical products business.

"We are excited about the opportunity to grow our market share and increase our scale in the store brand over-the-counter market," comments Leiner president Gale Bensussen. "Leiner is dedicated to bringing world-class service and high-quality products to the customers served by PFI.

"Execution of the agreement brings with it the opportunity to broaden our customer base, expand our over-the-counter product offerings and increase our manufacturing scale--all of which strengthens Leiner's ability to help grow the store brand share of the over-the-counter market for the nation's leading retailers."

Novartis agreement with Bristol-Myers includes the related sales of the North American brands in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

According to Novartis, Excedrin's sales in the United States last year totaled $160 million in a category that experienced estimated sales of $2 billion.

Besides Excedrin, brands Novartis will acquire from Bristol-Myers include Bufferin, a systemic analgesic; 4-Way, a nasal decongestant: and Vagistat, an antifungal.

Novartis maintains many of the new brands will complement its established over-the-counter product portfolio in North America. Novartis' nonprescription drug business achieved net sales of $2 billion last year, primarily the result of the success of such products as Voltaren, an anti-inflammatory agent; Lamisil, an antifungal cream; and Theraflu/ NeoCitran, a cough/cold therapy.

"Acquisition of these brands-particularly Excedrin--will provide us with greater critical mass in the over-the-counter market in the U.S., as well as with key trade customers that also purchase our prescription medicines and other consumer health products," points out Paul Choffat, chief executive officer of Novartis' consumer health unit.

"In addition, this acquisition will allow us to become a more attractive partner for switching prescription medicines to over-the-counter use."

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Title Annotation:Bristol-Myers Squibb Co acquired by Novartis AG, Leiner Health Products Group Inc acquires Pharmaceutical Formulations Inc
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 29, 2005
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