AP News

FTC tells Novartis to divest 4 skin care drugs

NEW YORK (AP) — Antitrust regulators told Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG it will have to give up marketing rights to four skin care products as part of its $1.53 billion deal for dermatology drug maker Fougera Pharmaceuticals.

The Federal Trade Commission told Novartis it needs to sell three drugs and return the rights to a fourth product to its manufacturer. The FTC is requiring Novartis to sell the products, which include a topical anesthetic and a treatment for psoriasis, because Novartis and Fougera both have large shares of the U.S. market for the products.

Novartis's Sandoz division, which sells generic drugs, said in May it would buy Fougera.

Fougera is a dermatology drug company based in Melville, N.Y., and it is owned by a group of private equity firms. It had $429 million in revenue in 2011.

The FTC said it is ordering Novartis to divest its version of the psoriasis treatment calcipotriene; the local anesthetic lidocaine-prilocaine cream; metronidazole gel, which is used to treat rosacea, and end its marketing agreement with Tolmar Inc., which makes those products. Novartis is also being ordered to return the rights to diclofenac sodium, a treatment for actinic keratosis.

Shares of Novartis rose 35 cents to $56.12 in afternoon trading.

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