German pharmaceutical giant Bayer is purchasing Schiff Nutrition International, an American vitamins maker, for $1.2 billion, Reuters reports.
According to Reuters, many pharmaceutical companies are looking to expand into non-prescription drugs. Although non-prescription drugs don’t pull in as much money as their prescription counterparts, they’re also steadier because they don’t carry risks such as clinical trial failures and patent expiries.
The story notes that some prescription medications have been causing problems for the company recently. For example, Bayer’s reported third-quarter net income dropped 17.8 percent as the company set aside $257 million for litigation related to its Yasmin line of birth control pills.
Numerous studies indicated that that the Yasmin line of pills, which contain the synthetic hormone drospirenone, can cause up to three times the rate of potentially deadly blood clots compared to other contraceptives on the market. Pills with drospirenone include Yaz, Beyaz and Ocella.
In April, U.S. health regulators added warnings to the labels on pills with drospirenone to reflect that greater risk of blood clots.
According to Reuters, Bayer said it has so far agreed to pay a combined $750 million to settle 3,490 legal claims related to allegations that Beyaz or other pills with drospirenone caused blood clots. The company is also facing 3,800 pending cases related to its oral contraceptives.
Bayer officials claim to have support from investors representing more than half of Schiff’s voting rights, Reuters says. That would trigger a mandatory acceptance from remaining shareholders.
Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with a Beyaz lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries while on Beyaz or similar birth control pills.
See the story here: