Glaxo said it was aiming to do this within three years of completing the consumer healthcare joint venture.
On Wednesday, however, she announced that GSK and Pfizer would combine their consumer health businesses in a joint venture with sales of 9.8 billion pounds (US$12.7 billion), 68 per cent-owned by the British company, in an all-equity transaction.
In a separate statement, Pfizer said the joint venture "will be a category leader in pain relief, respiratory, vitamin and mineral supplements, digestive health, skin health and therapeutic oral health and will be the largest global consumer healthcare business".
Ms Walmsley said: "Eighteen months ago, I set out clear priorities and a capital allocation framework for GSK to improve our long-term competitive performance and to strengthen our ability to bring new breakthrough medicines and better healthcare products to people around the world". GSK plans divestments of some 1 billion pounds.
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Shareholders had long pressured GSK to split up, mindful of the complexities of trying to create blockbuster drugs while selling consumer products like toothpaste.
The revamp is the boldest move yet by GSK Chief Executive Emma Walmsley, who took over previous year.
"There's also the fact that as a specialist pharma group, investors can be more confident GSK can get better results from the labs". "However, the potential to shift significant amounts of debt onto the cash generative consumer business should take the strain off the balance sheet, and thus buy valuable time for the pipeline to deliver".
A spokesman said the merger will save the company £500 million by 2022, a quarter of which will be reinvested into the business.
The boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved the transaction under which Pfizer will contribute its consumer healthcare business to GlaxoSmithKline's existing consumer healthcare business.