Pfizer plans big push into generics

And there's more big news from Pfizer today: The company has decided to make a big leap into generics. Eyeing figures that show the market for copycat drugs mushrooming to $520 billion by 2012, Pfizer now plans to start knocking off its competitors' meds.

The company has already been producing generic versions of a few of its own off-patent products. But now--like several of its rivals--Pfizer wants to reap more from that fast-growing segment of the business. David Simmons, who heads up the company's "Established Products" business, will be spearheading that growth.

On Pfizer's list of drugs to copy, according to the Wall Street Journal Health Blog, are niche products such as hard-to-manufacture injectable meds. And then there are new formulations of off-patent drugs, such as a quick-dissolving form of the anxiety med Xanax.

As you know, Pfizer joins a growing list of drugmakers looking to profit off the very market that has cut deeply into Big Pharma's sales as more and more drugs fall off patent. Novartis, of course, is big into generics via its Sandoz unit. Daiichi Sankyo is in the process of sinking big bucks into an acquisition of India's generics giant Ranbaxy. And Sanofi-Aventis and GlaxoSmithKline both are snapping up foreign generics makers, in Czech Republic and South Africa, respectively.

- read the Health Blog post