Merck & Co. has sold its 50% interest in its Johnson & Johnson-Merck Consumer Pharmaceuticals (JJMCP) joint venture to J&J’s McNeil businesses for $175 million. The sale, which includes a manufacturing facility in Lancaster, PA, won’t affect Merck’s existing rights to the Pepcid brand outside the U.S. and Canada.
Merck said the decision to sell its half of the joint venture fits in with plans to focus on building up its wholly owned consumer products division, which was acquired through the merger with Schering-Plough in 2009. The firm claims terminating the JJMCP venture will give it more freedom to operate in the OTC consumer sector, and allow full exploitation of its pipeline of Rx-to-OTC switches, as well as pursue OTC licensing activities in the U.S. and Canada.
While Merck will retain rights to market Pepcid in non-U.S./Canadian markets under terms of the sale, J&J will a have exclusive rights to market OTC Pepcid, Mylanta, Milycon, and other local OTC brands in the U.S. and Canada.