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ICI Sells U.S. Over-the-counter Drug Business For $395 Million

January 3, 1990

LONDON (AP) _ Imperial Chemical Industries PLC, a major British chemicals company, said Wednesday it has completed the sale of its U.S. over-the-counter drug business to Johnson and Johnson-Merck Consumer Pharmaceuticals Co. for $395 million.

As part of the sale, ICI has also acquired the U.S. rights to Merck Sharp and Dohme Inc.’s anti-depressant drug Elavil.

ICI said the acquisition of the anti-depressant prescription drug is to lay the groundwork for introduction of its own antidepressant and central nervous system drugs in the future, the company noted.

Elavil has sales of up to $30 million a year, ICI said.

The completion of the sale of the over-the-counter operation in the United States, which ICI had disclosed in October, is part of the company’s overall strategy to move out of the over-the-counter business into higher margin prescription drugs, said Phillip Morrish, an analyst with the London investment firm Smith New Court PLC.

Elavil’s proven marketing network is of prime benefit to ICI, he said.

″It’s easier to introduce products when you already have a developed market and a known name,″ Morrish said.

ICI said it doesn’t break out profit or sales for the U.S. business being sold, which includes Mylanta antacids.

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