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Thursday, 6 November 2014

U.S. pulls approval for Ranbaxy copies of AstraZeneca, Roche drugs......


A man rides a motorcycle in front of the office of Ranbaxy Laboratories at Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi, June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Files
(Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has revoked a tentative approval for Ranbaxy Laboratories to make a cheap copy of AstraZeneca's heartburn drug Nexium, after its Indian plants were banned over quality control issues.
The FDA has also stripped Ranbaxy of tentative approval and six-month exclusivity for a copy of Roche's antiviral Valcyte, a fresh blow to the company that has been hit by a raft of regulatory bans over poor production quality.
The U.S. regulator has banned all of Ranbaxy's India-based plants under a wider scrutiny of the country's $15 billion pharmaceutical industry, which is the largest supplier of generic medicines to the United States.
Ranbaxy was the first company to receive tentative approvals to launch the cheaper copies of the two drugs in 2008, making it eligible to exclusively market the medicines for six months - a huge revenue generating opportunity.
The launch of Nexium and Valcyte generics had been awaiting final approval from the FDA. That was delayed as Ranbaxy struggled to resolve quality control issues at its drug manufacturing plants.
Ranbaxy said in a statement on Thursday that the FDA informed the company that the regulator's original decisions granting tentative approval were "in error because of the compliance status of the facilities" mentioned in the applications.
The FDA also told the Indian drugmaker there were no "data integrity issues" related to the company's filings for the two drugs, Ranbaxy said. The company did not elaborate and a spokesman did not respond to a mail seeking comment.
"Ranbaxy is disappointed with this development and is actively evaluating all available options to preserve its rights," the company said.
AstraZeneca on Thursday reported better-than-expected sales performance and raised its 2014 sales forecast for the second quarter in a row, due to the delayed arrival of generic copies of its Nexium drug in the United States.
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said he was "not totally sure" how to read Ranbaxy's announcement on generic Nexium. He told analysts in a post-earnings call that he was still assuming there would be no generic Nexium in the United States this year.

Swiss drugmaker Roche declined to comment.