* Combined firm to lead U.S. dermatology market
* Valeant says FTC clears deal without conditions
Nov 16 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has cleared Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc’s $2.6 billion deal to buy U.S. dermatology rival Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp, without conditions, Valeant said on Friday.
The combined company is set to dominate the U.S. dermatology market. Medicis led that market in gross sales in 2011, while Valeant, Canada’s biggest public drugmaker, ranked third, Valeant said when the deal was first announced.
Last December, when the FTC approved Valeant’s acquisitions of the dermatology units of Sanofi and Johnson & Johnson, it forced the firm to sell off the rights to three drugs.
Valeant, on the acquisition trail since its 2010 takeover by Biovail Corp, which assumed the Valeant name, has favored segments where patients often pay out of pocket, such as ophthalmology and dermatology, cutting its exposure to cost-sensitive insurers.
Medicis’ products include Solodyn, a prescription acne tablet, Restylane, an injectable filler, and Dysport, a competitor to Allergan Inc’s Botox anti-wrinkle treatment.