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One for Band-Aids, One for Prescriptions

Johnson & Johnson is splitting into two companies, one focused on prescription drugs and medical devices and one on consumer products like Band-Aids, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The move underscores the changes that have taken place in the healthcare space, the Journal writes, adding that J&J CEO Alex Gorsky says the businesses as well as their markets and customers have become different. "The best path forward to ensure sustainable growth over the long term and better meet patient and consumer demands is to have our consumer business operate as a separate healthcare company," Gorsky tells the Journal.

CNBC reports that the split will likely take place in 18 to 24 months and that the pharmaceutical and medical device business will keep the J&J name, though the new name for the consumer business hasn't yet been determined. It adds that incoming J&J CEO Joaquin Duato will head the pharmaceutical and medical device company.

According to the Journal, Pfizer and Merck have also recently decided to break off their consumer businesses to focus on pharmaceuticals. Additionally, General Electric earlier this week announced it was splitting into three companies focused on aviation, healthcare, and energy, respectively.