2. Perrigo

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By Nesa Nourmohammadi

2011 generic drug sales: $620 million
Growth rate 2011: 80%
Growth rate 2010: 45%

From children's headaches to heartburn to hay fever, Perrigo pumps out meds for a wide variety of ailments. And it's the largest private-label, over-the-counter drug manufacturer in the U.S., cranking out 45 billion tablets a year.

While Allegan, MI-based Perrigo ($PRGO) may make a good chunk of dough from items such as infant formula and digestive supplements, its $540 million purchase of Paddock Laboratories last year reinforced its commitment to the generics market. The deal brought 35 new generic products into its portfolio, and was expected to contribute $200 million to sales during its first full year to Perrigo, CEO Joe Papa said at the time.

The journey hasn't been without its obstacles. In 2010, FDA issued a warning letter on its Allegan plant, citing several quality-control problems. One of them--ibuprofen tablets contaminated with metal shavings--resulted in a recall. Perrigo rebounded by remedying the issue within a year's time.

Looking ahead to the next 5 years, Perrigo sees branded prescription products worth $10 billion going OTC. That gives the company a chance to grab more sales in the allergy, heartburn, colds and disease-management markets.