Japanese takeover of Indian drug firm costly pill to swallow

NEW DELHI, May 8, 2009 (AFP) – Japanese drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo is finding its acquisition of Ranbaxy difficult to digest after US regulatory setbacks and big losses reported by the Indian generics player. Daiichi Sankyo announced its 4.6-billion-dollar acquisition for a 64 percent stake in India’s biggest generic drugmaker by sales last June to gain entry into the fast-expanding global copycat drugs market.

Daiichi, Japan’s third-biggest pharmaceutical company by sales, was hoping the purchase would give it a new source of revenues as its own patents ran out.

But the firm has seen the value of its investment plummet as a result of regulatory reverses for Ranbaxy Laboratories in the United States, the world’s biggest drug market, and large losses reported by the Indian company.

The acquisition “definitely took an ugly turn,” Sarabjit Kour Nangra, vice-president of research at Mumbai’s Angel Broking, told AFP.

In the latest bad news, Ranbaxy announced last weekend the recall of an antibiotic, nitrofurantoin, on sale in the United States to treat urinary infection, saying the manufacture of some lots had not met laboratory specifications.

The recall will not have a big impact on Ranb