Bayer grows to $14 billion with Merck Consumer Health acquisition
After rumors about a supposed acquisition deal between Bayer and Merck began circulating months ago, analysts predicted Bayer would become the 2nd-biggest OTC drug maker by the end of 2014. Finally on Tuesday, Merck & Co. agreed to the proposed deal with Bayer, adding to the long list of healthcare deals which have happened in recent weeks.
Merck’s terms of the deal will cause the company to sell its consumer care business to Germany’s Bayer AG for $14.2 billion, landing Bayer the positioning of the 2nd largest OTC company in the world. Merck expects after-tax proceeds to be between $8 to $9 billion from the sale alone, which will close out in the second half of 2014.
"This acquisition marks a major milestone on our path towards global leadership in the attractive non-prescription medicines business," Bayer's chief executive Marijn Dekkers said in a statement.
This transaction marks the largest one of its kind in the German healthcare market, with the last acquisition of this size when Bayer bought its rival Schering in 2006. Falling just behind Johnson & Johnson, Bayer will be the number two in terms of total over-the-counter sales. As the notable inventor of Aspirin, Bayer has made it no secret that it has plans to overtake Johnson & Johnson for the number one position in the market though its Bepanthen skin care products and Canesten antifungal creams.
Followed next by Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson controls a total of four percent of today’s consumer health market, which is worth an estimated $200 billion at the retail level. Merck & Co holds one percent of the dominated marketplace, with nationwide brands including Coppertone sunscreen and the widely-used Claritin allergy medicine. This industry trend of pursuing acquisitions is catching fast, with Novartis and GSK also announcing their formation a joint venture in consumer healthcare; an agreement, made last month, that is worth nearly $20 billion worth of assets.
Dexcom: changing the lives of people with type 1 diabetes
It is estimated that 9.3% of adults around the world are living with type 1 diabetes, which amounts to a total of 463 million people. A further 1.1 million children and adolescents under the age of 20 are living with the condition.
Unlike the more prevalent type 2 diabetes, where the body still produces insulin and symptoms develop slowly, people with type 1 diabetes need regular insulin injections or pumps, and must monitor their sugar levels frequently.
In recent years a number of remote glucose monitoring systems have become available that patients can use at home. These work with a sensor, usually placed under the skin, that measures glucose levels every few minutes. This information is then transmitted wirelessly to a device like a smartphone or tablet, which can then be shared with their clinician.
British actress Nina Wadia's son Aidan, 14, has type 1 diabetes, and has been managing his condition using Dexcom, a glucose monitoring system used by patients all over the world. Here Wadia explains how Dexcom has improved their lives.
As a parent of someone with type 1 diabetes, what is your day-to-day life like?
Being able to take a breath, think and pivot constantly without getting frustrated becomes an essential mindset because sometimes it feels like each day is determined to be different from the day before. Whatever worked yesterday is going to misfire today.
Which areas of yours and Aidan’s life are most impacted by diabetes?
The one thing that you have to fight hard to reclaim is spontaneity, especially when it comes to food and exercise. It’s only when this is taken do you realise how essential each one is. You can be flexible and there are no real limits, but only in the sense that a great athlete can be flexible without limits because they’ve trained super hard to be that way. So we’ve all had to become athletes when it comes to being spontaneous.
How has Dexcom helped you and Aidan?
Dexcom has brought future science fiction to real life today. The continuous glucose monitoring system is tiny, sits discreetly on his body and gives him a ten-day breather between sensor changes, so it's goodbye finger-pricking seven times daily.
Dexcom is totally active at a grass roots level and for Diabetes Awareness has pledged to donate £2,000 if #DexcomDiabetesStories and/or #DexcomWarriorStories is shared 200 times! I’ll be sharing more on social media and would love to hear how other families are winning their fights.
Maybe most importantly Dexcom is trying to introduce a reimbursement programme for type 1 diabetes patients which will give greater access to modern, life changing hi-tech. I want to spread the word on the importance of accessing it through this campaign.
If you compared your life today with how it was before Aidan was using Dexcom, what has changed?
It's always working, which lets him take his mind off diabetes for longer stretches. It also lets me get off his back. We both receive alerts so I no longer have to pester him by asking him what his number is, and especially importantly, I don’t have to wake him at night to prick his finger if I’m worried. Dexcom gave us back our sleep!