Australian Competition Watchdog Probes GSK/Pfizer Consumer Health JV Proposal
Assessing how closely GSK's OTC brands including Panadol compete with Pfizer's Robitussin and other OTC brands is the aim of investigation by Australia's Competition and Consumer Commission into the pharma giants' proposed consumer health joint venture. ACCC states particular interest in importance of Panadol, Voltaren and Advil brands, and whether GSK and Pfizer compete closely in supply of pain relief, gastrointestinal and cold and flu relief products.
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Big pharmas' agreement could put consumer health where Pfizer wants, entirely in its rear-view mirror, and points GSK toward what it wants, more research and development funding freed up for the pharmaceutical ingredient operations that are its chief revenue drivers. All-equity deal, giving GSK 68% control and expected to close in 2019 second half, also likely will boost investors' confidence in the firms as both have been dogged by pressure to sell, spin-off or otherwise divest their consumer businesses.
After announcing the $13bn acquisition of Novartis' 36.5% share of their JV, GSK said its Horlicks nutritional beverage line and its consumer health subsidiary in India, the source of most Horlicks sales, are potential divestments. The firm also will consider selling other consumer health nutrition products.
GSK Consumer Healthcare not only is the name of Glaxo/Novartis JV, but also the brand being added to Novartis’ OTC products. The JV will access OTC switch opportunities across the Rx portfolios of both Glaxo and Novartis in addition to external partners, says Americas/Europe head Brian McNamara.