Ranbaxy Denies Allegation That It Sold Substandard AIDS Drugs

July 15 (Bloomberg) — Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., India’s largest drugmaker, denied that it had sold substandard AIDS drugs to HIV-infected patients in Africa under a U.S. government- sponsored relief plan.

Ranbaxy stopped selling some AIDS drugs after it learnt that there ‘were issues related to bio-equivalence data provided to Ranbaxy and other companies by an outside contractor, Vimta Laboratories,’ the company based in Gurgaon, near New Delhi, said in an e-mailed response to a query today.

The Indian drugmaker faces allegations that it made adulterated AIDS drugs that were given to thousands of patients in Africa, the Wall Street Journal reported, without citing where it got the information. Ranbaxy was paid millions of dollars through U.S. government contracts to provide low-cost anti-retroviral drugs under the president’s emergency plan for AIDS relief, the Journal reported.

Saikat Chatterjee, for Bloomberg.com

‘Ranbaxy conducted new bio-equivalence studies, which were subsequently accepted by the World Health Organization,’ Ranbaxy said. ‘None of these drugs involved the U.S.’

The U.S. is seeking a court order to force Ranbaxy to turn over an audit that it says will prove the Indian company distributed ‘adulterated and misbranded products,’ according to court papers filed in the U.S. District Court in Maryland.

Ranbaxy has denied the allegations.

‘An investigation has been under way for approximately three years. Despite this no charges have been filed. The allegations are baseless,’ the company said yesterday.

Ranbaxy plunged 14 percent today, the most in more than 15 years, extending its 11 percent decline yesterday after the U.S. legal probe sparked concern Daiichi Sankyo Co. may scrap its planned $4.6 billion takeover.

Daiichi Sankyo, Japan’s third-largest drugmaker, agreed June 11 to buy the 34.8 percent stake of Ranbaxy’s billionaire Chief Executive Officer Malvinder Singh and his family, and a portion of about $1 billion of preferential stock. The Japanese drugmaker must also offer to buy a further 20 percent from shareholders, under Indian takeover rules.

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