GSK selling its drug distribution biz in Romania

GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), which has been chipping away at its supply chain in Romania with plans to close a plant there, will now unload its Romanian drug distribution business as well.

George Katzourakis, senior vice president for GSK in Europe

The U.K. drugmaker said in a release Tuesday that it is selling Europharm Distribution to Romanian drug wholesaler Interbrands Marketing & Distribution as it narrows its focus on drug development and vaccines. Terms were kept under wraps, but GSK said the deal must first be approved by the Competition Council.

"GSK took into consideration the commitment of the buyer for business continuity and employees wellbeing," George Katzourakis, SVP for GSK in Europe, said in a statement.

By year end, the drugmaker is slated to close a plant in Brasov that employs about 250. GSK had some interested buyers for the facility after announcing the closure in 2013, but a year later said those didn't pan out and that it would have to shutter it. GSK spokesman Simon Steel in an email confirmed the plan to close the plant but said there was no further update.

"Romania is an important country for us and we are committed to it; for example Romania is one of our clinical trial hubs and we are going to be investing in that space in the country to enhance capabilities," Steel said.

The Romanian market has presented other challenges to GSK. Earlier this year, a whistleblower contacted the company and laid out accusations that employees there had paid what amounted to bribes to doctors to get them to prescribe GSK meds. The company said it was investigating to see if there was any truth to the accusations.

- here's the release