• Kyodo

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Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. is considering selling its over-the-counter medicine unit for around ¥400 billion ($3.7 billion) to focus on developing cancer treatments and other advanced medical-use drugs that can generate higher profitability, a source said Monday.

The envisioned sale of Takeda Consumer Healthcare Co. comes as the pharmaceutical giant is proceeding with the unloading of noncore businesses to reduce debts following the ¥6.2 trillion purchase of Shire in January last year, the biggest-ever Japanese acquisition of a foreign company.

Takeda Consumer Healthcare, known for its popular product lineup of Alinamin vitamin pills and the Benza cold medicine series, logged sales of ¥64.1 billion in the year ending this March, a slight percentage of Takeda's group sales of ¥3.29 trillion.

Several companies, including a major domestic drugmaker, seem to have shown interest in purchasing Takeda Consumer Healthcare. The unit was spun off from Takeda in 2016 and remains its wholly owned subsidiary.

Takeda Consumer Healthcare's mainstay Alinamin vitamin tablets, which first went on sale in 1954, are known to have helped people suffering from malnutrition caused by postwar food shortages.

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