P&G pharma sale may take time

The credit crunch could force Procter & Gamble to hang onto its pharma unit longer than it wants to, analysts say. In fact, selling off the $2.2 billion pharmaceutical division might have to wait until 2010.

"I'd be surprised if there was a deal this year," Pete Sorrentino, vice president and senior portfolio manager at Huntington Asset Advisors told the Cincinnati Business Courier. "The people who might look at it are saying, 'It ain't going anywhere, we'll get back to that.'"

Part of the problem in attracting a buyer, however, doesn't have anything to do with the credit markets. P&G's biggest drugs--the bone drug Actonel and colitis treatment Asacol--haven't been blowing sales out of the box lately. And the products that are more promising are either still awaiting FDA approval, or they're tied up in external marketing agreements.

- see the Courier story