Bayer buys rights to market Levitra abroad
Bayer Healthcare has bought exclusive marketing rights to Levitra outside the U.S. from GlaxoSmithKline for 208 million euros, or around $270 million. Under the deal, GSK will also cut research and development spending on the drug by up to 15 million euros, or about $20 million.
Bayer originally co-marketed the number three ED drug worldwide with GlaxoSmithKline, but handed over U.S. marketing rights to its primary care products, including Levitra, to Schering-Plough in September. The German firm is refocusing its efforts on the European market while limiting promotion to high-profit specialty products in the U.S.
Bayer will now market Levitra exclusively in Asia, Latin America and Europe, where it has strong primary care sales forces, but will continue to co-promote the drug with GlaxoSmithKline in Italy.
As in the U.S., Levitra has lagged Lilly/Icos' Cialis in Europe, where the drug, known in France as "le weekender," boasts nearly twice the sales of its Bayer/GSK rival. In the U.S., IMS Health data pegged Levitra at 10 percent by October sales to Cialis' 18.7 percent and Viagra's 68.9 percent.