Geri-Care building second plant in Mississippi

Over-the-counter drugmaker Geri-Care Pharmaceuticals says it is the world's largest producer of liquid antacid products. But the company, which sells private label products to big box retailers like Wal-Mart ($WMT), says it needs more production and so will expand capacity with a new facility in Mississippi.

The company will renovate a building in Gulfport, MS, that was damaged by Hurricane Katrina, which swept through the area in 2005, the Sun Herald reports. The plant is adjacent to Geri-Care's current facility. Geri-Care CEO Eli Shindler said during an event this week when the new facility is fully operational, it will employ another 200 people in the community, more than doubling the current workforce of 150. The company did not disclose the size of the investment.

Geri-Care in 2010 bought the 132,000-square-foot FDA-approved plant in Gulfport from drugmaker ANI Pharmaceuticals, saving 150 jobs in the process, the newspaper reports. The plant was originally a Phillips Milk of Magnesia plant.

Geri-Care specializes in geriatric OTC meds. The OTC, consumer health part of the market has been getting a lot of attention in the last couple of years. Novartis ($NVS) and GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) have merged their over-the-counter and health products businesses into a unit that GSK will operate and from which it is expecting big growth. The new business, dubbed "GSK Consumer Healthcare," is expected to produce $10 billion in annual sales. Bayer last year vaulted to the top of the OTC business when it snatched up Merck's ($MRK) consumer health unit for $14.2 billion, while Perrigo ($PRGO) bought Belgium's Omega Pharma in a $4.5 billion to expand internationally.

- read the Sun Herald story