Sanofi has reached an agreement with US-based pharmaceutical giant Pfizer over the company’s plans to sell a generic version of cholesterol blockbuster Lipitor in France.

Pfizer has granted France-based Sanofi a licence to manufacture a generic version of the product and launch it after Lipitor’s patent expires in the country on 7 May 2012.

Although no financial terms have been disclosed, the deal will fall under France’s Strategic Council of Health Industries programme, with Pfizer set to receive a tax break from the country by allowing a generic drug manufacturer to produce a copy of its drug.

Generic competition to produce Lipitor copies is hotly contested. Ranbaxy and Walton Pharmaceuticals have received similar licences, while other pharmaceutical firms, such as India’s Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, received patent infringement lawsuits.