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      India co. to sell generic drugs in Canada

      Posted AtSeattle Post-Intelligencer

      India's largest drug company announced Thursday it was entering the Canadian generic drug market with the launch of a subsidiary called Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.

      Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. said the firm already had regulatory approval to sell eight products and four others were awaiting approval.

      "We are a major player on the global stage," Dr. Brian Tempest, CEO and managing director of Ranbaxy Laboratories, said in a telephone interview. "Whenever we've entered markets around the world, we've been seen as an element of change that has brought into those markets some generic products faster than they may otherwise have risen."

      The announcement comes one day after Canadian Trade Minister Jim Peterson announced that New Delhi and Ottawa would spend $6.75 million Canadian dollars ($5.7 million) over the next five years on collaborative research in biotechnology and nanotechnology.

      Tempest said Ranbaxy currently has approvals to sell eight products in Canada for anti-infection, diabetes and cardiovascular medicines. He said the company's global integrated research and development system allows Ranbaxy to bring generic drugs to the market more quickly and cheaply than other pharmaceuticals.

      Ranbaxy, with global sales exceeding $1.1 billion, has been conducting clinical trials in Canada for five years, he said.

      Ranbaxy is also a leading producer of generic drugs used to combat HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS. The U.S. government on Tuesday approved the first generic versions of the AIDS medication AZT - including one by Ranbaxy - a move that could reduce the expense for people being treated for the disease in the United States.

      The Indian company has long been a leader in the push for cheaper generic antiretrovirals in the Third World as well. The World Health Organization estimates 40 million people worldwide are infected with the AIDS virus.

      Tempest said Ranbaxy currently has 100 approved generic drugs on the U.S. market and another 50 in the pipeline. It's also present in 22 European countries.

      September 22, 2005


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