It's looking increasingly less likely that Pfizer
The price tag wasn't cheap: $250 million plus milestones and royalty payments based on product launches and sales. Of course, the prescription version of the purple pill raked in nearly $8 billion globally last year, so assuming Pfizer can persuade regulatory bodies to allow the switch, the investment should pay off. There's certainly precedent for allowing the switch: Procter & Gamble's
In addition to OTC Nexium, which is slated for a U.S. launch in 2014, Pfizer and AstraZeneca are exploring partnerships on other AstraZeneca drugs that might be appropriate for over-the-counter status. Pfizer has first right of refusal for the OTC rights to AstraZeneca's allergy medication Rhinocort Aqua.
Curiously, AstraZeneca has a long-standing deal with Merck
Pfizer is in the midst of a breakup, selling its nutrition business and spinning off its animal health division, Zoetis. It seemed possible that it would divest of its consumer health division as well. Pfizer sold its first consumer health division to Johnson & Johnson
Sometimes people redo their kitchens to make the house more attractive to buyers, but this long-term move seems more like a signal that Pfizer is in consumer health for the long haul than a move to gussy up the division to make it more attractive to potential acquirers.
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Fool contributor Brian Orelli holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.