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Pharmacia & Upjohn and Johnson & Johnson trade Motrin, other drugs

June 5, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ Pharmacia & Upjohn said Thursday it will trade its Motrin IB pain reliever and an antibiotic for Johnson & Johnson’s cold, allergy and Micatin athlete’s foot treatments, in a move designed to allow each company to focus on its strengths.

Under the agreement, Pharmacia & Upjohn will give the rights to its Motrin IB pain reliever to Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Products division and its antibiotic ointment Mycitracin to J&J Consumer Products.

In exchange, Pharmacia & Upjohn would get J&J’s Micatin athlete’s foot preparation and McNeil’s PediaCare cold and allergy medication and Nasalcrom allergy medication.

The agreement improves the product lines each company has targeted for growth, analysts said.

``If you look at Pharmacia & Upjohn there’s been a lot of products all over,″ said Hemant K. Shah, an independent pharmaceutical industry analyst. ``To be a successful pharmaceutical company you really need to have a focus on certain categories and narrow the product line as much as possible, and I think this does to some extent for both companies.″

Michael J. Valentino, president Pharmacia & Upjohn’s U.S. consumer health care division, said the company is in ``high growth mode″ and can better compete with the brands it is acquiring.

The deal strengthens McNeil’s leadership in sales of pain relievers, said McNeil president Brian D. Perkins, whose company began selling pain relievers with Children’s Tylenol in 1955.

The deal gives McNeil the rights to the over-the-counter pain reliever Motrin IB and the rights to the prescription version of the drug outside the United States and Latin America.

Motrin, which became the most widely prescribed non-narcotic pain reliever after it was introduced in 1974, was the first prescription brand of ibuprofen to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval.

Fort Washington, Pa.-based McNeil licensed the marketing rights to the prescription form of Children’s Motrin in 1993 and won FDA clearance to market the children’s version over the counter in 1995.

Nasalcrom, an over-the-counter nasal spray, was cleared for by the FDA on Jan. 2 and became available at drug stores in March. It was previously a prescription product marketed by Rhone-Poulenc Rorer.

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