Just under a fortnight after telling PharmaTimes World News that it was looking to boost its consumer health operations, Bayer has swooped to buy the over-the-counter assets of the USA’s Sagmel.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but Bayer is getting access to Sagmel's OTC business in the Commonwealth of Independent States, notably Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan where it has developed a strong market position. In terms of products, Sagmel’s portfolio includes Theraflex, a painkiller for osteoarthritis, the nasal decongestant Nazol, the haemorrhoid treatment Relief and Jungle, a range of multivitamins.

“Our consumer health business is a key component of Bayer HealthCare and we will continue to invest in this area in order to ensure further growth,” said the latter unit’s chairman Arthur Higgins. “With this acquisition, we continue to solidify our leading position in the global OTC market.” Gary Balkema, president of Bayer's consumer care division said the addition of Sagmel’s products will help the firm offer “a very strong and attractive platform to further strengthen our business in one of the world’s fastest growing regions".

2007 sales for Bayer’s consumer health division were up 6.9% to 4.54 billion euros, driven by products such as the firm’s branded aspirin (which brought in 460 million euros), the painkiller Aleve (naproxen), the vitamin C tablet Berocca and Canesten (clotrimazole), an antifungal treatment. At the firm’s recent press conference in Leverkusen, Mr Higgins told PharmaTimes World News that consumer health is a great business as it “balances the volatility of pharma”.