Summary Box: Retailers: Pfizer delayed generics

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LIPITOR LAWSUIT: Five big retail chains sued Pfizer Inc. and generic drugmaker Ranbaxy Laboratories of India in federal court, claiming they schemed to delay sales of cheap generic versions of the blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor.

THE CLAIMS: Walgreen Co., Kroger Co, Safeway Inc., Supervalu Inc. and HEB Grocery Co. LP accuse Pfizer of fraudulently getting the patent extended for Lipitor, the world’s top-selling drug ever, and then making deals to limit how much generic Lipitor pharmacies could sell. Drug stores make bigger profits on generics than brand-name drugs.

THE RESPONSE: Pfizer denies the claims and says it will defend itself vigorously. Ranbaxy had no comment.

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