Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)’s MSD Selling Primary Care Drugs

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)’s Indian unit, MSD is looking to sell off a range of its products as part of a rationalized drive that will enable it to focus more on select core brands. According to the Economic Times, Merck’s MSD is looking for a buyer for its older primary care products such as injectable steroidal hormone Sustanon and Decadurabolin. It aims at focusing on a few higher-growth products including its vaccine portfolio, diabetics drug Januvia and cancer therapy Keytruda.

Story continues below

The valuation of the products MSD is looking to sell poses distinct challenges according to an industry source aware of the development. Data from market research agency AIOCD PharmaTrac show that Decadurabolin ranks fifth in MSD’s India portfolio, growing at around 5% on a 12 month moving annual total until July. Neither MSD India nor Merck’s have responded to requests for comments on the plans.

Rumors about the Merck plan of selling off its patent drugs, what it calls ‘diversified brands’ first emerged in 2014. At that time analyst suggested a block sale of the entire division. This was approximated to bring in around $15 billion. Later that year, the consumer health unit was sold to Bayer for $14.2 billion, with proceeds being used to fuel a string of pipeline-expanding deals. Investors have since been raising the matter of diversified brands in Merck’s quarterly result briefing.

Last month Merck’s CEO Kenneth Frazier in a statement noted on the company’s plans for diversification. He noted that as the company looks across its entire business, they continue to challenge themselves to determine whether specific assets including diversified brands would have more value outside Merck or as part of their business. He emphasized that they are focused on prioritization.

This year Merck has already shown signs of concentrating on its core business having dissolved a joint venture with India’s Sun Pharmaceutical Industries to develop and market generic drugs.

An ad to help with our costs