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Raid conducted at Ranbaxy?s US office

The company admits the search took place, but has not given any reason for it, reports Gaurav Choudhury.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2007 03:45 IST

Investigators of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have “searched” the US office of Indian drug major Ranbaxy. The reasons for the “search” conducted on Wednesday were not immediately known.

The company admitted the search had taken place, but did not give out the reasons for it. “This action has come as a surprise. The company is not aware of any wrongdoing. It will co-operate fully with the officials,” a company spokesman said here. He said the company’s operations would continue as usual.

Ranbaxy, which is aiming for sales of $5 billion by 2012, is India’s largest pharmaceutical company manufacturing generic drugs.

In August last year, it won a significant legal victory with an US appeals court allowing the company to introduce a cheaper generic version of Pfizer’s best-selling anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor in 2010, a year before the original patent was to have expired. Lipitor is the largest-selling drug in the world with an estimated annual sale in the US of $12 billion in March 2006.

Firms such as Ranbaxy are fiercely targeting the large domain of off-patent drugs and patent litigation has now become an integral part of the global generic drug business because of the extremely high stakes involved.

Ranbaxy has been spending an estimated $20 million annually for litigation in patent challenges.

“Ranbaxy operates in a complex global business environment in one of the most highly competitive and regulated industries. Over the decades, the company has consistently delivered high quality, affordable medicines to millions across the world, including those in the most demanding markets”, the spokesman said on Thursday.

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First Published: Feb 16, 2007 03:04 IST