AZ in distribution pact with Dr. Reddy's to extend reach in India

AstraZeneca Pharma India ($AZN) has signed up Dr. Reddy's Laboratories ($RDY) to distribute its diabetes medicines Riax and Riax-M in India as domestic and foreign companies look for advantages in a crucial and sharply competitive market where generic activity is on the rise.

Together, India and China have the most diabetes patients, making it ground zero for companies looking to extend original and generic versions of treatments for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

"Diabetes is a disease of epidemic scale in India with over 65 million affected people," said AstraZeneca Pharma India managing director Sanjay Murdeshwar, according to a press statement cited by

"This partnership reflects our constant endeavor to enhance patient's access to novel treatment solutions like saxagliptin."

The local unit of AstraZeneca sells Onglyza and Kombiglyze for saxagliptin and in fixed-dose combination with metformin in India already and sees Dr. Reddy's wider reach in the country as a plus.

However, India's Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has battled Merck ($MRK) over copycats of the U.S. drugmaker's diabetes meds Januvia and Janumet. India's highest court has for now blocked the generics company from marketing its cheaper versions of the drugs in the country.

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