SB considers moving drug broker to Europe

SmithKline Beecham is considering bringing its US Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM), Diversified Pharmaceutical Services, to Europe, according to managing director of SB consumer brands Peter Glynn-Jones.

SB bought DPS for $2.3bn in May 1994.

Such systems could be put in place in the UK to buy drugs for health trusts, especially in nursing homes for the elderly and disabled, as well as for corporations and insurance companies.

PBMs control the purchase of pills for company employees, health clinics and nursing homes. They are also involved in disease management. They act like brokers, negotiating with drug manufacturers on behalf of big corporations and insurance companies, as well as managing the healthcare of workforces.

In addition, they have forced large discounts and used generic drugs to keep prices down. They have millions of captive consumers.

Glynn-Jones says SB is negotiating with another pharmaceutical company to launch an otc HIV home-test kit. The SB version is likely to involve health professionals in the process, as well as counsellors.

US drug giant Johnson & Johnson is also seeking approval in the US to launch an otc HIV home-test kit.

* Drugs giant Glaxo has made a ú9bn bid for Wellcome, which could lead to a significant increase in marketing spend for otc brands. Otc marketing for both companies is conducted through Warner Wellcome.

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