WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.—Ending a 22-year-old partnership, Merck& Co., known outside the United States and Canada as MSD,announced this week that the company has sold its 50 percent interest in theJohnson & Johnson-Merck Consumer Pharmaceuticals Co. joint venture(JJMCP) to Johnson & Johnson Inc. Following the transaction, J&J will own the venture'sassets, which include the exclusive rights to market over-the-counter Pepcid,Mylanta, Mylicon and other local OTC brands where they are currentlysold in the United States and Canada. The partnership assets include amanufacturing facility in Lancaster, Pa.
The venture betweenMerck and J&J was formed in 1989 to develop, manufacture, market anddistribute certain OTC consumer products in theUnited States and Canada.Merck decided to sell its interest in the joint venture "toenable the company to fully focus on building the long-term growthprospects of the wholly-owned consumer products division that had beenpart of Schering-Plough Inc. prior to the 2009 merger."
Under theagreement, Merck will receive a one-time payment of $175 million.Merck's rights to the Pepcid brand outside the U.S. and Canada are notaffected by this transaction. Termination of the JJMCP venture, which will be renamed McNeil Consumer Pharmaceuticals Co., reportedly will alsogive Merck greater freedom to operate in the OTC consumer sector,"allowing Merck to fully exploit its pipeline of Rx-to-OTC switches aswell as actively pursue OTC licensing activities in the U.S. and Canada," according to a company news release.