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Generic Lipitor Recall: Indian drugmaker Ranbaxy

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Generic Lipitor Recall: Indian drugmaker Ranbaxy, Indian drugmaker Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. has voluntarily recalled its cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin in the United States, a development that could dent its image further in the world’s biggest prescription drug market, where the company faced an earlier ban. Ranbaxy did not specify the reason for the recall of the drug, which largely drove the company’s sales in the first of half the year. Shares fell more than 4 percent after the announcement.

The recall of atorvastatin, a generic version of Pfizer Inc.’s Lipitor, will temporarily disrupt supplies in the U.S. market while the company conducts an investigationexpected to take two weeks, it said. Lipitor is considered as the world’s best-selling drug and at its peak generated $13 billion in one year for Pfizer.

Ranbaxy was the first company to launch generic Lipitor in the United States after Pfizer’s patent expired last year. The Indian company had marketing exclusivity for the first six months that generics were allowed to be sold along with U.S.-based Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc.

“The development will impact the company’s credibility to an extent,” said Bhagwan Singh Chaudhary, a research associate at the brokerage IndiaNivesh. “There have been issues in the past (about compliance) and a recall suggests, corrective measures suggested by the U.S. FDA are not being implemented.”

Generic Lipitor generated nearly $600 million in sales for Ranbaxy during its exclusive marketing period, Chaudhary said.

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