Reports That Mylan Is Acquiring The Consumer Unit Of Merck KGaA Denied

Pharmaceutical firm Mylan has denied reports that suggested it was interested in acquiring the consumer health care unit of Merck KGaA. According to a spokesperson for Mylan, the reports which were attributed to Reuters were false. In the report it had been suggested that Merck KGaA would dispose of its consumer health care division for a price ranging between $4.3 billion and $4.9 billion.

Last year Merck disclosed that it intended to sell the consumer health care unit with a view to using the funds to invest in prescription drug research. Annual sales at the unit are around $1 billion. Reckitt Benckiser and Nestle had also shown interest in the business but have since dropped out of bidding. In the past Mylan has acquired assets from Merck KGaA. For instance in 2007 Mylan purchased the genetics business of Merck at a price of five billion euros.

Global consumer health market

Demand in the consumer health business has been driven by health-conscious consumers and aging populations. However there has been a slowdown globally with the sales growth falling from between 4% and 6% to between 0% and 3% according to a report released by analysts at Morgan Stanley last year.

This comes in the wake of Mylan disclosing that EpiPen, its emergency allergy antidote, is experiencing short supply in Britain and Canada. According to a spokesperson for Pfizer, which manufactures EpiPen at a plant located close to St. Louis in the state of Missouri, the United States is however not experiencing a shortage.

Manufacturing hitches

The Pfizer unit that is responsible for manufacturing EpiPens, Meridian Medical Technologies, has suffered from various manufacturing hitches in the past. Last year in March for instance Myland had to recall numerous devices following complaints which indicated that some were not activating. Also in September last year the Food and Drug Administration warned Meridian Medical Technologies over findings that product failures had not been thoroughly investigated and corrective actions taken. Then Myland indicated that it did not expect the warning letter from the FDA to have any impact on the supply of the EpiPen devices.

When Pfizer Canada revealed the supply constraints it blamed delays being experienced at the manufacturing plant besides supplier hitches. In Canada there doesn’t exist any alternatives for EpiPen and caregivers and patients have been advised to use EpiPens which have expired in the event of an emergency if nothing else is available.

“Pfizer understands and regrets the challenges that these ongoing supply constraints pose to patients and the healthcare community,” Pfizer wrote on its website.