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Montreal gets manufacturing boost from Schering-Plough

Published on 09/10/09 at 07:24am


Schering-Plough says it is planning to invest more than C$30 million ($28 million) to expand a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Montreal, Canada.

The expansion of the unit in Pointe-Claire is intended to serve the North American markets for Schering-Plough's Claritin and Aerius antihistamine products for allergies, as well as other liquid, cream and ointment products.

The production expansion will increase annual production to 35 million units, with Claritin (loratadine) Syrup being produced for the US market and Aerius (desloratadine) products manufactured for the entire Canadian market.

Schering-Plough's antihistamines portfolio remains a big earner for the group, with global Aerius sales adding $400 million to the group's coffers in the first half of this year, albeit a reduction of 12% year-on-year. Aerius is sold in some markets under the Clarinex brand.

Meanwhile, the Claritin range of prescription and over-the-counter products contributed $485 million in the first six months of 2009, although this product has suffered of late in the US market from stiff competition from Johnson & Johnson's Zyrtec (cetirizine), which made the switch from prescription to OTC status at the end of 2007.

In a statement, Schering-Plough Canada said the decision to invest in the Pointe-Claire facility was made easier by a C$3 million grant and tax concessions worth C$500,000 from the local authorities.

The plant in Pointe-Claire currently employs around 330 people and the headcount will increase once the expansion programme is completed. Work has already started on the expansion and it is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2010.

Schering-Plough is in the process of a reverse acquisition by Merck & Co which is currently under scrutiny by antitrust authorities in the US and the European Union. The $41.1 billion deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

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