Europharm was acquired by the Pharma Giant in 1998 but this week GSK has announced it is set to sell the local drug distribution company to Interbrands Marketing & Distribution, a subsidiary of the Beirut-headquartered conglomerate Sarkis Group International.
“GSK is selling Europharm to focus on our mission to research, develop and launch innovative medicines and vaccines for patients around the world including in Romania,” GSK spokesperson Anar Andani told Outsourcing-Pharma.
“Our aim is to contribute towards significant improvement of health and healthcare for Romanian patients.”
The deal is subject to approval by the Romanian Competition Council, but if Interbrands gets the go-ahead, “GSK will continue to distribute its product through [both] Europharm Distribution and other distribution companies,” in Romania, Andani added.
Earlier this year, GSK sold half its stake in South African drug company Aspen, but said it will continue to use the firm for distribution of its drugs in the region.
When asked about the UK-based Big Pharma’s strategy towards distribution, Andani said: “At GSK we are focused on our mission to research, develop and launch innovative medicines and vaccines for patients around the world that need them.
“Owning distribution companies is not part of our core offering.”
Financial details have not been divulged but it was revealed GSK’s only Romanian manufacturing site in Brasov, which was acquired as part of the 1998 Europharm deal, is not part of the deal.
GSK announced it was looking for a buyer at the site which made 16 brands of drugs in 2013, but failing this the company is now shutting the site.
“GSK will regrettably progress the closure of the Brasov site in Romania as announced in 2014,” said Andani. “It is anticipated this closure will be completed by the end of 2015.”