Top U.S. execs flee Ranbaxy as Sun Pharma merger looms: paper

Ranbaxy Laboratories has been a steady source of bad news over the past several years. And now that India-based rival Sun Pharmaceuticals is preparing to take over, the company's top U.S. leadership is throwing in the towel.

According to the Indian newspaper, Business Standard, up to a half-dozen of the company's U.S. execs are headed for the door, with country chief Venkatachalam Krishnan among them. Citing unnamed sources, the paper says department heads in finance, legal, sales and distribution have also turned in their resignations.

Sun Pharma agreed to buy Ranbaxy in April in a $4 billion deal and awaits regulatory approval for closing the deal. As the buyout was announced, sources started chattering that Sun would phase out the Ranbaxy brand in the U.S. Sun was also said to be planning to oust plant managers who had presided over serious manufacturing violations that landed Ranbaxy in hot water repeatedly since 2009.

It's clear that Sun will have its hands full dealing with Ranbaxy's checkered regulatory history. Four facilities are operating under a consent decree with the FDA, and the Department of Justice has issued a subpoena for information on a plant in Toansa, India, previously banned by the FDA. Sun will also have to deal with at least one state government investigation into Ranbaxy's potential Medicaid overcharges.

Meanwhile, Sun has racked up its own series of recalls since announcing it would buy Ranbaxy. The company had announced three recalls by June, and an FDA warning letter chided Sun for dirty facilities, data-manipulation problems, and lax quality control, similar to the infractions that snagged Ranbaxy.

This wouldn't be the first exodus from Ranbaxy in recent months. As the Business Standard points out, global quality chief Dale Adkisson and global HR head Sandeep Girotra said their goodbyes recently.

- see the Business Standard story

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