Pfizer has reportedly secured bids in excess of $14 billion for its over-the-counter business, with GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson and Reckitt Benckiser in the line up. The final bid day was June 6.

The news, from a report published in the New York Times, was expected as speculation mounted earlier this week that UK giant GSK would put in a hefty offer for the OTC business - forecast to be in excess of $15 billion.

In February, Pfizer finally confirmed that it was 'exploring strategic alternatives' for the Pfizer Consumer Healthcare unit, including retaining the business, selling it or spinning it out as an independent company. Its product range includes Listerine mouthwash and Benadryl for colds and allergies.

GSK is hoping to beat its rivals to the alter having earlier failed to buy Boots Healthcare as it pursues its mission to become the world's number one in consumer health. All the bidders have declined to comment, but Pfizer is expected to announce a decision in the third quarter of the year. Shares in all companies rose marginally on the news, with Pfizer closing up 7 cents to $23.91 on the New York Stock Exchange.