Mergers: Commission approves GlaxoSmithKline’s acquisition of Pfizer’s Consumer Health Business, subject to conditions

drugs

(Joshua Coleman, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Pfizer’s Consumer Health Business by GlaxoSmithKline. The decision is conditional upon the global divestment of Pfizer’s topical pain management business carried out under the ThermaCare brand.

GlaxoSmithKline (“GSK”) and Pfizer’s Consumer Health Business are both manufacturers and suppliers of a variety of consumer healthcare pharmaceuticals, which are typically available to patients without a prescription from a doctor and generally referred to as “over-the-counter” (“OTC”) pharmaceutical products.

Both companies are active in the European Economic Area (“EEA”) in a number of OTC product categories, namely topical pain management (creams, gels, spays and patches to treat pain locally), systemic pain management (products for oral intake targeting pain centrally), cold and flu treatments (e.g. multi-symptom treatments, antitussives), gastrointestinal treatments (e.g. antiacids, antiflatulents, antiulcerants), nutrition and digestive health (e.g. vitamins, supplements, laxatives), as well as sedatives and sleeping aids.

The Commission’s investigation

The Commission examined the effects of the proposed transaction on competition in the markets where the activities of the companies overlap.

Based on the investigation, the Commission was concerned that the acquisition would reduce competition for topical pain management products, possibly resulting in price increases in a number of EEA countries, including Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands.

In the market for topical pain management products,the Commission found products to be broadly substitutable irrespective of their different format or composition (e.g. patches and gels, medicated or not).

For topical pain management products, GSK is a leading OTC supplier in the EEA with its range of Volta-branded products (including VoltarenVoltadol, or Voltarol). These products are mainly sold as medicated gel, creams or spray but also as medicated and non-medicated patches. Pfizer is mostly active in the EEA with its range of ThermaCare-branded products, which consists mainly of non-medicated patches.

The proposed remedies

To address these concerns, the companies offered to divest Pfizer’s topical pain management business carried out under the ThermaCarebrand globally. This includes all relevant assets that contribute to the current operation or are necessary to ensure the viability and competitiveness thereof.

These assets will have to be divested as a package to one suitable purchaser to be approved by the Commission. The commitments provide in particular for the divestiture of a Pfizer manufacturing facility located in the US, which is dedicated to the production of ThermaCare products, of all intellectual property rights relating to the ThermaCare products and brand, as well as products under development.

These commitments remove almost entirely the overlaps between GSK and Pfizer’s Consumer Health Business in the topical pain management category in the EEA.

Therefore, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns in the EEA. The Commission’s decision is conditional upon full compliance with the commitments.

Companies and products

GSK, based in the UK, is a pharmaceuticals company active worldwide in research, development, manufacturing, and marketing in three broad segments, i.e. prescription pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and consumer healthcare products.

Pfizer, based in the US, is a pharmaceuticals company active worldwide in the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of innovative medicines. Pfizer’s Consumer Health Businessoffers products in five major areas: (a) pain management; (b) gastrointestinal health; (c) respiratory; (d) dietary supplements, and (e) personal care products (e.g. lip care).

Merger control rules and procedures

The transaction was notified to the Commission on 17 May 2019.

The Commission has the duty to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Article 1 of the Merger Regulation) and to prevent concentrations that would significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.

The vast majority of notified mergers do not pose competition problems and are cleared after a routine review. From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has a total of 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II). This deadline is extended to 35 working days in cases where remedies are submitted by the parties, such as in this case.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

This man is turning cities into giant sponges to save lives

This credit card has a carbon-emission spending limit

10th ASEM in Milan and the importance of being one: EU’s big challenge on the way to China

EU prolongs economic sanctions on Russia by six months

Carnage must stop in northwest Syria demands Lowcock, as attacks intensify

This app uses augmented reality to rewrite ‘herstory’

Is euro to repeat its past highs with the dollar?

Electronic Cigarettes: Are they really as safe as we think?

Poor Greeks, Irish and Spaniards still pay for the faults of German and French banks

Ensuring the ‘lungs of the planet’ keep us alive: 5 things you need to know about forests and the UN

Darfur: Inter-communal tensions still high despite improved security, Mission head tells Security Council

Parliament: No consent to EU budget until €11.2 billion unpaid bills are settled

5 things you probably didn’t know about global health

The 27 EU leaders did nothing to help May unlock the Brexit talks

Why youth unemployment is so difficult to counter

‘Signs of hope’ toward a political settlement in Yemen, UN special envoy tells Security Council

Indian cities are running out of water

From drought to floods in Somalia; displacement and hunger worsen, says UN

Five things everybody needs to know about the future of Journalism

Dieselgate: Parliament calls for mandatory retrofits of polluting cars

Is the advent of nationalism to destroy economic neo-liberalism?

Online marketplaces can help close Africa’s skills gap

New European frontiers for renewable energy development

UN rights chief ‘extremely concerned’ over deadly crackdown on protesters in Iran

Trust in OECD governments back at pre-crisis levels as governments seek to be more open and engaged

Under fire, UN refugee agency evacuates 135 detained in Libya to Niger

How microfinance develops decent work

MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile World Congress shows off planes, trams and automobiles

How smart tech helps cities fight terrorism and crime

Nagasaki is ‘a global inspiration’ for peace, UN chief says marking 73rd anniversary of atomic bombing

5 ways cities can use emerging technologies to fight climate change

How blockchain can cut the cost of new medicine

MWC 2016 LIVE: 5G to trigger disruption, claim industry leaders

Ramp up nuclear power to beat climate change, says UN nuclear chief

Safer roads: More life-saving technology to be mandatory in vehicles

A call for a new crop of innovators

COVID-19: research package welcomed, EU needs to be better equipped in future

We should treat data as a natural resource. Here’s why

Bank resolutions set to remain a national affair

This Pacific island has banned fishing to allow the marine ecosystem to recover

VW emissions scandal: EU unable to protect its consumers against large multinationals

Thursday’s Daily Brief: STIs worldwide, food safety and food prices, updates on Iraq and East Africa

Here’s how the global financial crisis is still affecting your wages

5 facts to know about Africa’s powerhouse – Nigeria

A Sting Exclusive: “Delivering on the Environmental Dimension of the new Sustainable Development Agenda”, Ulf Björnholm underscores from UNEP Brussels

5 ways to get your business ready for AI in 2020

Visiting North Korea, UN relief chief spotlights funding shortfall to meet humanitarian needs

Refugee crisis: Commission proposes a new plan urging EU countries to help Italy

Mental health in times of pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

Frans Timmermans on the European Green Deal as a growth strategy at the Bruegel Annual Meetings

Coronavirus – here’s the public health advice on how to protect yourself

Syria: UN chief warns Idlib offensive may set off ‘humanitarian catastrophe’

The ethics of the Medical Technology Civilisation era

6 innovative technologies about to transform our infrastructure

“A divided Europe is not in China’s interests”, Ambassador Zhang of the Chinese Mission to EU welcomes Brussels

A ‘charismatic leader’ dedicated to making the world a better place for all: officials bid farewell to former UN chief Kofi Annan

The ECB proposes a swift solution for SMEs’ financing

Tackling Youth Unemployment

European Commission statement on the adoption of the new energy lending policy of the European Investment Bank Group

EU and Overseas Countries and Territories boost cooperation at annual Forum with €44 million

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s