Ranbaxy HQ

India-based pharmaceutical company Ranbaxy Laboratories has launched a generic version of Pfizer’s blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor across four European countries.

The generic version will be launched in Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Sweden, months before the patents protecting the drug expire.

Ranbaxy will partner with Daiichi Sankyo in order to launch the drug in Germany, where it is known as Sortis, as the Indian company steals a march on other companies looking to exploit the expiration of Pfizer’s patent protection.

Ranbaxy Western Europe regional director Debashis Dasgupta said that the company is pleased to offer a generic version of the drug in Europe, citing its potential benefit to patients.

"It is an effective, high quality and affordable bio-equivalent to the innovator product and will immensely benefit the healthcare systems and patients in these countries," added Dasgupta.

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By GlobalData

Pfizer settled with Ranbaxy in order to allow the firm to launch the generic versions before the expiry, which will see Netherlands and Sweden receive the drug on May 6, Germany on May 7 and Italy on May 8 2012.

The deal builds upon a previous settlement with Pfizer that saw Ranbaxy launch its generic version of Lipitor in the US in November 2011, gaining 180 days of marketing exclusivity.

Lipitor represented a substantial source of earnings for Pfizer, with Ranbaxy noting that the drug held a market size of $377m, $164.4m and $55m in Italy, Netherlands and Sweden respectively.

Image: Ranbaxy Laboratories’ headquarters, located in Guragon, India. Credit: Ranbaxy