Actavis PLC plans to buy Forest Laboratories Inc. for about $25 billion, catapulting little-known Actavis into the world’s No. 15 drugmaker, with an unusual one-stop-shopping model giving it an edge: more face time with doctors.
U.S. physicians, increasingly crunched for time, keep reducing how many drugmaker sales reps they see. Forest gives Actavis not just a broader product line, but also its big U.S. sales force, which now can promote a half-dozen Forest and Actavis products at each doctor visit. That likely will result in more time and more options to present to primary care doctors, compared to rival brand-name drugmakers whose sales reps promote one or two drugs.
“They have just figured out a way to maximize use of time” with doctors, WBB Securities analyst Steve Brozak said Tuesday. “There’s no way big Pharma can compete with this.”
Actavis, based in Dublin, calls itself a specialty pharmaceutical company, but it sells several hundred generic, brand-name and nonprescription medicines generally prescribed by family doctors, from birth control pills to infection drugs. Its specialty drugs include osteoporosis treatment Actonel, other drugs for women’s health, and dermatology and urology medicines. And it’s partnering with biotech giant Amgen Inc. to develop five biosimilars – like generic versions of ultra-expensive biologic drugs made in living cells.