Mylan Inc. (Nasdaq: MYL) announced the launch of the generic version of Pfizer's (NYSE: PFE) Lipitor, the top-selling cholesterol controlling drug, in five European countries.
The Canonsburg, Pennsylvania-based Mylan, one of the world's largest generic drugmakers, will start selling its Atorvastatin calcium tablets immediately in France, Belgium, the UK, the Netherlands and Ireland.
The company said the launch will help to provide health care systems in these markets with an estimated $700 million (euro 500 million) of savings in 2012 associated with the generic availability of the blockbuster drug.
Watson Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: WPI) and India's Ranbaxy Laboratories have started selling generic Lipitor, which was contributing to one-sixth of Pfizer's annual sales. Lipitor lost U.S. patent protection late last year.
In France, Belgium, the UK, the Netherlands and Ireland, Lipitor had total sales of $1.6 billion (about 1.13 billion euros) for the twelve months ending Dec. 31, 2011, according to IMS Health.
MYL shares, which have been trading in the 52-week range between $15.49 and $25.00, closed Thursday's regular trading at $21.08.