Pfizer buys supplements firm

Pfizer Inc. said Monday it has acquired the privately held company that makes Emergen-C vitamin supplements.

The vitamin C products made by Alacer Corp. are the largest selling brand of such supplements sold in the United States.

The price paid for California-based Alacer was not disclosed. Pfizer, which has indicated a willingness to sell its animal-health and baby-food divisions, is expected to keep its consumer-products business intact as the New York-based company refocuses its priorities under newly appointed chairman Ian Read.

"We expect that our global network and deep expertise in dietary supplements combined with our desire to provide consumers with high-quality products will make Emergen-C more accessible than it has ever been before," said Paul Sturman, president of Pfizer's consumer healthcare division.

Sturman added that Emergen-C products complement Pfizer's current stable of dietary supplements, which includes the Centrum multivitamin brand.

Alacer claims to produce nearly 500 million packets of Emergen-C annually, according to Bloomberg news service. The powdered drink mix comes in more than a dozen flavors, including formulations made specifically for children.

"By becoming part of Pfizer, we can access the resources and reach that will help us support healthy, active lifestyles across the globe," said Ron Fugate, president and chief executive of Alacer, in a statement.

Pfizer sold off its consumer division several years ago but then reacquired a similar product line when it bought Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in 2009.

l.howard@theday.com

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