Sanofi-Aventis Purchase of Chattem Puts Dexatrim, Garlique Brands in French Hands

Chattem Inc., the Tennessee-based company behind the Dexatrim and Sunsource lines of dietary supplements, will soon be under the ownership of Sanofi-Aventis.


The French drug maker reported on December 21 that it had agreed to buy Chattem, which makes most of its money selling over-the-counter (OTC) drug products, for approximately $1.9 billion. The deal gives Sanofi a presence in the U.S. OTC drug and supplement markets.

Dexatrim is a leading brand in the weight-loss supplement category, but like other weight-loss pills, the brand has suffered dramatic sales losses in recent years. Dexatrim products include Dexatrim Max, Dexatrim Max2O, Dexatrim Max EveningAppetite Control and Dexatrim Natural. In fiscal year 2008, Chattem launched Dexatrim Max Daytime Control and Dexatrim Max Complex 7. The company’s Sunsource supplement line features the Garlique cholesterol health supplement, Melatonex natural sleep aid, New Phase menopausal supplement and Omnigest EZ digestive aid.

Selsun Blue dandruff shampoo, Cortizone-10, Gold Bond skincare products and Icy Hot topical pain-relief medicine are among Chattem’s best-selling brands.

Compared to its other OTC product lines, Chattem’s supplement business has faced a rocky sales road over the last several years. The company’s wholesale supplement sales in the United States totaled $19.5 billion in its fiscal year 2008. This was down more than 25% from $26.1 billion in fiscal year 2007. Chattem attributed these loses to the Dexatrim brand, sales of which were down nearly 37%—largely due to “increased competitive pressures in the diet-aid category” and a drop in sales of the Dexatrim Max20 product, the company reported. Also contributing to the decline were 23% lower Garlique sales and a 33% decline in New Phase

Chattem’s total sales in fiscal year 2008 were $423,088, up 7.5% from 2007. Total revenues for the first nine months of fiscal year 2009 were $353.1 million, up 1.1% from $349.4 million in the prior year period.
Sanofi-Aventis maintains a strong presence in the global OTC drug and supplement market. In October 2009, the company announced its plans to form a joint venture with the Minsheng Pharmaceutical Group to make vitamin and mineral products for the Chinese market. The agreement marked Sanofi-Aventis’s first foray into China’s burgeoning over-the-counter (OTC) product market.

Related NBJ links:
Sanofi-Aventis Plans Plunge into China’s Vitamin and Mineral Market with New Joint Venture
Weight-Loss Supplement Sales Plummet Following Iovate's Hydroxycut Recall
2009 Global Nutrition Industry Overview

Related NPICenter links:
7-Keto from Humanetics Provides Fat-Burning Efficacy for Dexatrim Max Complex 7


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