Bloomberg News

J&J Buys Merck’s Share of OTC Drug Partnership for $175 Million

September 28, 2011

Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Johnson & Johnson bought Merck & Co.’s half of the companies’ joint venture for over-the-counter medicines for heartburn and digestive diseases for $175 million, ending a 22-year partnership in the U.S. and Canada.

The deal announced today includes a manufacturing plant in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, that is part of a consent decree with U.S. regulators because of production violations. J&J, the world’s second-biggest seller of health products after Pfizer Inc., has recalled dozens of drugs and devices in the past two years, including nonprescription medicines such as Tylenol.

Merck, based in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, sold its share of the business to focus on its consumer products division acquired in the 2009 purchase of Schering-Plough Corp., the company said in a statement. Merck plans to convert some of its prescription drugs to over-the-counter use in the U.S. and Canada, and will pursue licensing deals for others, the company said.

J&J, based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, will rename the former joint venture as McNeil Consumer Pharmaceuticals Co. and continue to sell the Pepcid, Mylanta and Mylicon brands, the company said in its statement.

--Editors: Andrew Pollack, John Lear

To contact the reporter on this story: Michelle Fay Cortez in Minneapolis at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at

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