Big Pharma Looks To Branded Generics in Developing WorldPharmaquest has a good yarn about Pfizer’s efforts to sell Lipitor and other branded drugs in the slums of Caracas, Venezuela.

This is due to lax enforcement of intellectual property laws in developing countries, generic alternatives are often available for drugs that are still under patent. At the same time, though, patients in the developing world may be willing to pay a premium for branded drugs if they perceive generics to be of uncertain quality.

But there’s also a third category of drug that big pharma is pursuing in the developing world: The branded generic. The term may sound like an oxymoron — prescription drugs are typically referred to as branded drugs on the one hand (such as Lipitor) or generics on the other (atorvastatin, for example).

But in countries where generic drugs may be largely unregulated and counterfeiting may be common, selling a generic drug under the brand of a well-known company can convey to patients a greater sense of reliability. And at a time when big pharma is pinning its growth on the developing world, that’s turning into a key strategy.

Pfizer itself has made a deal with Indian generics manufacturer Aurobindo to sell branded generics in the developing world. Sanofi-Aventis recently made an acquisition that turned it into Latin America’s biggest generics manufacturer. GlaxoSmithKline made a deal last year with African manufacturer to sell branded generics. And J&J has said that it is considering jumping in as well.