PfizerThe distance between Big Pharma and the generic drugs business keeps getting narrower. Under a deal with an Indian drugs shop Strides Arcolab, Pfizer will add some 40 off-patent drugs, including many cancer medicines, to the list of products it sells in the U.S. Here’s a statement Pfizer put out describing the deal.

PfizerPfizer’s been moving in this direction for a while now. An “established products” division the company set up back in 2008 to focus on off-patent drugs now sells some 600 products, and the company has cut several deals like the one announced today. (See the 2008 deal with Aurobindo India, for example.)

Growth has slowed in the branded-drugs business, and the push is on in the developed world to slow the rise of health-care costs. Both of those factors are driving many of the big names in the drugs business to move further into generics. In the past few years, GlaxoSmithKline made a deal with the South African drug-maker Aspen to sell off-patent drugs in the developing world, Sanofi-Aventis bought several generics companies, and Merck set up a unit to sell copies of off-patent biotech drugs