UK watchdog says Theramex-Viatris deal raises competition concerns

(Reuters) -Britain's competition watchdog said Theramex's purchase of European rights to two of Viatris' women's healthcare products ranges could lead to higher prices and fewer options for hormone replacement therapies (HRT).

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said its phase 1 probe found the deal could reduce options in an already concentrated HRT market, lead to price hikes and pose a threat to entry of new products.

Drugmaker Viatris in October agreed to sell its UK and European rights to Duphaston and Femoston product ranges to Theramex, one of the largest suppliers in the HRT market in the UK.

HRT is used to help menopause symptoms, by replacing oestrogen and progesterone hormones that fall to low levels as one approaches menopause.

The regulator said both parties have five working days to respond with meaningful solutions before the deal is put through an in-depth phase 2 investigation.

Viatris and Theramex did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment.

(Reporting by Prerna Bedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)