Page last updated at 18:02 GMT, Thursday, 18 March 2010

Teva buys Ratiopharm in generic drugs deal

Generic drugs
Generic drugs are a regarded as a growth market

Israeli generic drugs giant Teva has bought German firm Ratiopharm for 3.6bn euros (£3.2bn, $4.9bn), it has been announced.

The deal represents a significant move into the European market for Teva, which is the world's largest maker of generic drugs.

Generics are based on drug patents that have expired, allowing anyone to manufacture and sell them.

Germany represents the largest generics market in Europe, Teva said.

"This is an important acquisition for Teva," said the company's chief executive Shlomo Yanai.

"This transaction is perfectly aligned with our long-term strategy in which Europe is an important pillar and growth-driver."

Generics are regarded as a growth market for drugs companies that have seen patents expire at a growing rate in recent years.

Ratiopharm was previously owned by the German billionaire Adolf Merckle, who committed suicide in early 2009 following huge losses made during the economic crisis.

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