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Pfizer to introduce generic version of Zoloft

Written by: Staff
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NEW YORK, June 29 (Reuters) Pfizer Inc. said on Thursday that it plans to introduce a generic version of its antidepressant Zoloft as soon as a rival generic hits the market, which could be as early as Saturday.

The world's biggest drugmaker loses market exclusivity on Zoloft, which generated sales in 2005 of NEW YORK, June 29 (Reuters) Pfizer Inc. said on Thursday that it plans to introduce a generic version of its antidepressant Zoloft as soon as a rival generic hits the market, which could be as early as Saturday.

The world's biggest drugmaker loses market exclusivity on Zoloft, which generated sales in 2005 of $2.6 billion, at midnight on Friday.

In a move designed to thwart rival generic drugmakers, Pfizer will make and sell its own generic Zoloft through its Greenstone Ltd. unit.

''We are prepared to introduce a Greenstone version of Zoloft if and when generic competitors enter the market,'' said Paul Fitzhenry, a spokesman for Pfizer.

Fitzhenry declined to comment on how Pfizer might price its generic, which he said is ready to be launched the minute a rival launches.

Generic drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. won six months exclusive rights to sell generic Zoloft, known chemically as sertraline, under a settlement between Pfizer and Ivax Corp., which was acquired by Teva earlier this year.

Pfizer's move, first reported in the Wall Street Journal, reflect a growing trend among drugmakers to take on generic drugmakers.

In a preemptive strike, Merck&Co. Inc. last week struck a deal with UnitedHealth Group Inc. to sell a low-cost version of its blockbuster cholesterol-fighter Zocor, which lost patent protection on Friday. That move sent shares of Teva down nearly 10 percent.

REUTERS CS HT1924 .6 billion, at midnight on Friday.

In a move designed to thwart rival generic drugmakers, Pfizer will make and sell its own generic Zoloft through its Greenstone Ltd. unit.

''We are prepared to introduce a Greenstone version of Zoloft if and when generic competitors enter the market,'' said Paul Fitzhenry, a spokesman for Pfizer.

Fitzhenry declined to comment on how Pfizer might price its generic, which he said is ready to be launched the minute a rival launches.

Generic drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. won six months exclusive rights to sell generic Zoloft, known chemically as sertraline, under a settlement between Pfizer and Ivax Corp., which was acquired by Teva earlier this year.

Pfizer's move, first reported in the Wall Street Journal, reflect a growing trend among drugmakers to take on generic drugmakers.

In a preemptive strike, Merck&Co. Inc. last week struck a deal with UnitedHealth Group Inc. to sell a low-cost version of its blockbuster cholesterol-fighter Zocor, which lost patent protection on Friday. That move sent shares of Teva down nearly 10 percent.

REUTERS CS HT1924

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