Dr Reddys Laboratories Ltd has entered into an agreement with Merck to sell generic versions of Merck's Proscar and Zocor, upon the expiry of Merck's patents for these products, subject to a 180-day exclusivity after the patents expire for the two drugs.
Proscar is used in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) by helping to shrink the prostate in men suffering from age related prostrate growth and reduces the risk of acute urinary retention (a sudden inability to pass urine).
Zocor, Merck's top selling drug, is a statin used to lower cholesterol. Its sales during the first nine months of 2005 were $3.3 billion and Merck expects the total sales in 2005 at $4.2 billion to $4.5 billion - down from $5.2 billion in 2005.
This far exceeds the $2.5-billion sales of its previous top selling drug, Vioxx, in 2003, the drug's last full year of sales, before having to be withdrawn from the market because of its adverse side effects and Merck faces several lawsuits projected at $50 billion.