Merck takes back diabetes and thyroids portfolio in Russia from Takeda

To reflect the company's focus on further expansion in emerging markets

Merck has taken back responsibility for its diabetes and thyroid brands in Russia from marketing partner Takeda Pharmaceutical.

The change covers Glucophage (metformin hydrochloride), and Glucophage XR, Glucovance (metformin and glibenclamide), Euthyrox (levothyroxine sodium), Jodid (potassium iodide; Iodbalance in Russia), and Thyrozol (thiamazole).

Takeda will continue to market Merck’s Concor family of cardiovascular care products, and other GM products in Russia.

In other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Takeda will continue to commercialise all products in Merck’s portfolio for the treatment of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and thyroid disorders alongside other GM products.

'Repatriation of our products used in the treatment of diabetes and thyroid disorders is well aligned with our commercial priorities in Emerging Markets, especially in strategic markets like Russia. Where opportunities arise, we will seek to bring marketing and sales activities back ‘in house’ to support business growth and foster further market development through increased diagnosis and access,' said Elcin Ergun, Head of Global Commercial at Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical business of Merck.

He added that Merck would continue to strengthen its business in Russia by expanding its commercial footprint, as well as by harnessing manufacturing and supply solutions locally.

'This was exemplified by our recent announcement of our strategic collaboration with Pharmstandard on local fill and finish production, marketing and distribution of Merck’s Rebif for Multiple Sclerosis treatment in Russia. Providing access to the best therapies for patients is the overriding priority for our business.'

Merck said there will be no change in the branding of products as a result of the switch, and the same manufacturing and distribution channels will be used.

Merck Serono recently expanded its retail sales force in Russia in preparation for the change, with promotion and marketing to be handled by a new local business unit, which is now in place.