Earlier this week, federal agents raided the U.S. corporate offices of Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., the mammoth Indian generic-drug developer. Company spokespeople called the search a Ã¢â‚¬Å“surprise,Ã¢â‚¬Â and neither the company nor the FDA has offered any information about what the agents might be searching for.
Federal officials also conducted a search of one of RanbaxyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s production facilities, Ohm Laboratories, in New Brunswick, in addition to its headquarters in Plainsboro. The company has said it is fully cooperating with the investigation and handing over paper and electronic documents requested by the government.
Ranbaxy is one of the 10 largest generic-drug producers in the world and has been operating in the States since 1995. It has approval to make 119 drugs, including 40 that are made at the Ohm facility in New Brunswick.
Ranbaxy has proved to be a thorn in the side of Big Pharma. It has been effective in challenging patent extensions requested by the biggest pharmaceutical companies and it has also been quite adept at getting generic drugs to market quickly after patents expire. They have been lauded for helping to drive drug costs down throughout the industry.
The company recently got approval from the FDA to produce a generic version of PfizerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s popular antidepressant, Zoloft, and has been fighting doggedly for years to win approval to sell a generic version of PfizerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Lipitor cholesterol drug. Earlier this week, Ranbaxy began selling a generic version of Lipitor in Denmark.