India's largest drug maker Ranbaxy Laboratories could see its global sales double by 2011 following the settlement of a patent dispute with Pfizer Inc involving the world's most-prescribed cholesterol-lowering medicine, a top company official said in New Delhi on Tuesday.
The drug Atorvastatin (Lipitor), manufactured by Ranbaxy, is the world's largest selling drug with worldwide sales of $12.7 billion in 2007. But Pfizer contended it held the patent to it.
After the settlement with Pfizer, Ranbaxy will be in a position to sell generic versions of the drug and the fixed dose combination of Atorvastatin-Amlodipine besylate (Caduet) worldwide.
Ranbaxy's chief executive and managing director Malvinder Mohan Singh declined to put a figure on the expected additional revenues that the company might earn from sales of this drug.
"As a company I cannot put any figures, but market estimates have already put the figure between $1.5-$2 billion a year worldwide and I am neither confirming nor denying this figure," he told IANS on the sidelines of a media conference.
With the company's total revenues touching $1.76 billion in 2007, the additional sales from Lipitor could help nearly double the company's sales once the company is able to sell the drug worldwide.
According to the agreement with Pfizer, Ranbaxy will be able to sell the drug in the Canadian market from Nov 30, while it will be able to do so in the American market from Nov 30, 2011.
In between these two dates, the company will be able to sell this drug in five more developed markets - Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Italy and Australia - besides several other markets such as Malaysia, Brunei, Peru and Vietnam.
"From December this year to 2011 we should see Ranbaxy's sales and profits soar substantially," Singh said.
This is in line with the company's plans to become a $5-billion company in terms of sales and position itself among the top five global generic companies by 2012.