Drug manufacturer Covidien is looking to sell its pharmaceutical business, which could fetch up to $4bn, with the help of JP Morgan, according to Bloomberg.

Discussions with a healthcare company over the sale of its drug unit have recently broken down, although other potential buyers are still interested, sources close to Covidien have said.

Covidien’s pharma unit achieved sales worth $1.99bn in the 12-month period ending September 2010, although the company’s medical-products line is still its largest area of business.

In a strategy outlined in March, outgoing chief executive officer Richard Meelia said that Covidien would increasingly focus on medical devices upon his retirement, planned for July.