Ranbaxy Launches Generic Lipitor in Four European Countries

Ranbaxy Laboratories has launched generic versions of Pfizer’s Lipitor in four European countries, a couple of months prior to the patents running out on the cholesterol blockbuster.

Ranbaxy is launching copies in Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden and noted that market sizes in these countries are $377 million, $164.4 million and $55 million, respectively. The company has also announced that their Basics affiliate has paired with Daiichi Sankyo (which has a majority stake in Ranbaxy) to launch the drug in Germany, where it will be known as Sortis.

The generic versions launched by Ranbaxy will bring cheap versions of U.S. drug maker Pfizer’s blockbuster cholesterol drug to the four EU markets.  Ranbaxy’s versions have already received approval from the respective local regulatory authorities.

Ranbaxy announced today that they would sell 10, 20, 40 and 80 milligram tablets of the medicine, known generically as atorvastatin, in Germany, Italy and Sweden.  However, the top 80 mg dose will not be available in the Netherlands.

Two Months Prior To Patents Expiring

The launch of the generic versions of the largest-selling drug of all time came two months prior to patents expiring in the four countries, following a prior agreement with Pfizer.

The drug went off patent in the United States at the end of November 2011, marking a key milestone for the global pharmaceutical industry facing a wave of patent losses, of which Lipitor is the biggest.

At the end of November 2011, Ranbaxy launched its version of Lipitor in the USA with 180 days of marketing exclusivity, as it was a first-to-file applicant for the product.  Last month, Ranbaxy also became the first company to launch the generic, atorvastatin, in Australia.

Liptor Has Generated Sales of Over $130 Billion

Lipitor originally became available in 1997 and made worldwide annual sales of $13 billion at its peak.  Liptor is approved to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and the risk of heart attack and stroke.

The drug has created over $130 billion in sales during its time on the market and a lot of analysts doubt that another drug of its magnitude will be seen again, partly because drug makers are moving to more personalised medicine.



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