Sanofi-Aventis has extended its pharmaceutical reach in China with the announcement of a consumer healthcare joint venture with the Minsheng Pharmaceutical Group, a leader in multivitamins, anti-cancer, cardiovascular and transfusion products.

Subject to certain conditions and to regulatory approvals, Sanofi-Aventis is to obtain a majority equity stake in the new venture, which will primarily focus on vitamins and mineral supplements where Minsheng has established a strong presence with its flagship 21 Super-Vita multivitamin.

Sanofi-Aventis president of global operations Hanspeter Spek said that combined with its leadership position in vaccines, the company will continue to contribute to preventative healthcare in China.

“Entering the world’s second-largest consumer healthcare market is also a strategic move for Sanofi-Aventis to consolidate its position in consumer healthcare,” Hanspeter said.

The consumer healthcare market in China is estimated to approach €7bn and is forecast for continued double-digit growth over the next five years.