GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer to create over-the-counter drug giant

Navigating the drug pricing maze

GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer are merging their healthcare divisions, creating an over-the-counter drug giant with combined sales of $12.7 billion. The new business will be spun off within three years.

British-based Glaxo will own 68 percent of the joint venture, while U.S.-based Pfizer will own the remaining 32 percent stake.

The joint venture will bring together Glaxo's brands such as Sensodyne, Voltaren and Panadol with Pfizer's Advil and Centrum. Shareholders have long pressured Glaxo to break itself in two companies — with one focused on pharmaceuticals and vaccines, and the other on consumer healthcare. Glaxo aims to do this within three years. 

Emma Walmsley, CEO of Glaxo, says that with the "future intention to separate, the transaction also presents a clear pathway forward for GSK to create a new global pharmaceuticals/vaccines company, with an R&D (research and development) approach."

The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2019, Glaxo said in a statement.