Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. said Friday it has agreed to sell its over-the-counter drug operations to household product maker Lion Corp. by the end of the year to concentrate on its prescription drug business.

Chugai said in a joint statement with Lion, which has its own OTC drug division, that it also has agreed to sell its pesticide-manufacturing subsidiary in Fukushima Prefecture to a Lion subsidiary in Chiba Prefecture.

Through the integration of the OTC divisions, Lion is looking to expand its lineup of OTC drugs as there is little overlap with Chugai’s lineup, Lion officials said.

The OTC drug market has been taking hits from the slumping economy for years, forcing drug makers to cut prices.

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