Sanofi to launch copycat Plavix

Sanofi-Aventis (SNY) strikes back. The French drugmaker plans to launch a generic form of its own anticlotting blockbuster Plavix, to combat the copycat versions European regulators already have approved, a French business publication reports. The Sanofi generic will be sold via its subsidiary Winthrop.

La Lettre de L'Expansion said rival generics makers are planing to start selling their copies this autumn, but didn't say which countries Sanofi plans to target with its Plavix version. A Sanofi spokesman told Reuters that the company's strategy is to sell its own version of drugs-gone-generic "when appropriate," but wouldn't comment on Plavix in particular.

It wouldn't be the first time in recent history that a Big Pharma firm has knocked off its own drug. In just one example, Merck quickly launched an authorized generic form of Fosamax as soon as the patent on that bone drug expired. Lacking its own generics subsidiary, Merck inked a deal to make the generic Fosamax tablets for Watson Pharmaceuticals, which would sell and distribute them, giving Merck a cut of the revenues.

- read the Reuters story
- check out the news from MoneyWeek (in French; translated here)