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New generic drugs on the market today

International pharmaceutical company Aurobindo, which develops and tests drugs in Malta, will today start selling a range of “competitively priced” medicines in local pharmacies.

The generic drugs would include a range of antibiotics, antidepressants and anti-diabetics that were approved by the Malta Medicines Authority, Aurobindo vice president Venulopalan Muralidharan said yesterday.

Generic drugs have the same chemical makeup as brand name medicines and are distributed after the latter’s patent has expired.

The announcement comes as medicine importers continue to be put under pressure by the government to lower the price of their products, many of which consumers perceive to cost much more than they are in Europe.

Dr Muralidharan pointed out his company’s medicines, all prescription drugs, were competitively priced since Aurobindo produced its own raw materials and could therefore afford to drop the price.

Aurobindo set up a research and development facility two years ago in Ħal Far where the company also carries out testing of drugs for quality release in the EU markets.

Following that €10 million investment, Dr Muralidharan said the company planned to expand its Maltese operations to packaging in the near future. This would mean increasing the workforce, he said. He added that Aurobindo had chosen Malta as a stepping stone into Europe and he was very satisfied with his experience of Maltese workers. So far, he said, Aurobindo Malta employed 16 people in its laboratories of who only three were Indian and the rest Maltese.

Aurobindo employs over 8,000 worldwide and exports to over 125 countries with an annual turnover of $900 million. It has 15 manufacturing sites in various countries that include India, China and North America.

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