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Nov 30, 2011 8:38 PM by Matt Stafford

Indian drugmaker OK'd to launch generic Lipitor

PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) - India's biggest maker of generic drugs has gotten approval to launch a generic version of cholesterol blockbuster Lipitor, which lost U.S. patent protection Wednesday.

Analysts, pharmacists and others had been watching closely to see whether Ranbaxy Laboratories would be able to get its generic on the market as the patent expired for Lipitor, the top-selling drug ever.

Ranbaxy has had major manufacturing quality deficiencies since 2006, leading the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to hold up approval of Ranbaxy's version of generic Lipitor. The FDA announced approval Wednesday night.

Lipitor's maker, Pfizer Inc., is splitting revenue from an authorized generic version being sold by partner Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc.

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