Germany's Merck Plans to Expand in Consumer Health

01.12.2014 -

Merck KGaA has no plans to divest its consumer health business, but rather intends to expand it, Uta Kemmerich-Keil, CEO of Merck Consumer Health, said at a media briefing in London.

"Our strategy is a pure growth strategy and by the end of this year we will hopefully hit the $1 billion sales mark," she added.

While the company's consumer health business is smaller than its prescription drugs, chemicals and laboratory equipment activities, it has strong brands, Kemmerich-Keil said.

The business, which ranks 11th in the global market, was strengthened last year with the transfer of Neurobion, a treatment for sore muscles and Floratil for diarrhea from Merck Serono.

Merck's consumer health CEO said she aims to have at least three leading bands with a minimum of 3% market share in key markets such as Brazil, where self-medication is growing in importance.

Although securing strong positions in local markets could involve small bolt-on acquisitions or licensing deals, Kemmerich-Keil noted that she sees no need for larger buys, despite the market's increased M&A activity.

Deals so far this year have seen Bayer buy the consumer health business of US-based Merck & Co, GSK agree to take Novartis' consumer products activities and Perrigo's move to acquire Belgian OTC player Omega Pharma.