Ranbaxy books first profit in six quarters on exclusive drug launch

  • Reuters, Mumbai
  • Updated: Oct 28, 2014 22:05 IST

Generic drugmaker Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd on Tuesday reported its first profit in six quarters after benefiting from the exclusive US launch of a cheaper copy of Novartis AG blood pressure pill Diovan.

The drugmaker, which is being bought by larger rival Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, booked Rs 4.78 billion ($78 million) in net profit for July-September. That compared with a loss of Rs 4.5 billion a year earlier when it took a foreign exchange charge of Rs 3.6 billion.

Ranbaxy also said sales in India rose 12%, and that overall profit was helped by higher revenue in Western Europe.

Most noticeably behind the profit was Ranbaxy's right to launch in the United States the first copy of Diovan, chemically called valsartan. Quality control issues had delayed the launch for several months until it finally came to market in July.

Ranbaxy is working to resolving quality issues that led to the US Food and Drug Administration banning imports of all of drugs from the company's Indian plants under a wider scrutiny of the country's $15 billion pharmaceutical industry.

The drugmaker has also had to contend with US lawsuits. Earlier this month, Ranbaxy agreed to pay $39.75 million to settle litigation related to the manner in which it historically reported pricing data to Texas Medicaid, the US federal-state healthcare program for people with low incomes.

That settlement came after the drugmaker pleaded guilty last year to felony charges relating to drug safety and agreed to pay $500 million in civil and criminal fines under a separate settlement with the US Department of Justice.

Shares of Ranbaxy ended 5.9% higher at Rs 633.75, while the Nifty gained 0.5%.

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