German drugs and chemicals group Bayer is not currently considering a bid for Pfizer's consumer healthcare business, an industry source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Saturday.

They got the documents, but are not planning to go for it, he said.

The source said Bayer was preoccupied with its 16.5 billion euro ($21.1 billion) bid for rival German drugs group Schering.

A Bayer spokesman declined to comment.

Bayer, which bought the over-the-counter drugs business of Swiss drugmaker Roche in 2004, was also in the running for the consumer business of Boots last year, an auction eventually won by Reckitt Benckiser.

Bayer has said in the past that it aims for a leading position in the global OTC drugs market, and was thought to have kept its options open on the Pfizer unit.

People familiar with the situation said on Friday that British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline Plc was to bid more than $15 billion for the Pfizer business.

Final bids for the division are due on June 6.

GlaxoSmithKline's move raises the bar in the auction for Pfizer's $3.88-billion-a-year over-the-counter (OTC) medicines unit, whose top-selling brands include Listerine mouthwash, Sudafed decongestant and Rolaids antacid.

Previously, analysts had estimated the business would sell for around $14 billion, or 3.6 times 2005 sales, similar to the multiple paid by Reckitt Benckiser for Boots Healthcare International last year.

Industry sources told Reuters on Thursday that Glaxo, along with Johnson & Johnson and Reckitt, had emerged as frontrunners to acquire the Pfizer business after the chief executive of Colgate-Palmolive Co played down talk of its interest.

Wyeth is also understood to be interested in the unit.

Pfizer first announced in February it was weighing spinning off the business to shareholders in a tax-free transaction, or selling it, which would trigger a hefty tax bill. Analysts believe a price of $15 billion would be high enough to offset the pain of a tax bill.