Household giant Procter & Gamble has sold its pharmaceutical business to Irish healthcare group Warner Chilcott for £1.9bn.

The sale allows P&G, owner of brands including Vicks and Fairy Liquid, to focus on its core over-the-counter medicine and household cleaning ranges.

The prescription pharmaceutical division had annual sales of around $2.3bn but accounted less than 3% of P&G’s total turnover.

The deal is the largest in the sector so far this year and will triple the size of Warner Chilcott, which currently specialises in women’s healthcare.