FRIDAY, June 23, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- The first generic versions of the anti-cholesterol drug Zocor (simvastatin) were approved Friday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Zocor, made by Merck & Co., is the 2nd-best selling statin drug in the United States behind Pfizer's Lipitor. Statins, designed to control high cholesterol and other fatty substances in the blood, accounted for $16 billion in U.S. sales last year, the FDA said in a statement.
Even though generic versions of Zocor will be available, the drugs will still require a prescription.
Generic simvastatin in 5 mg. 10 mg., 20 mg., and 40 mg. doses will be produced by IVAX Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Northvale, N.J.
An 80 mg. dose of the drug will be made by Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Princeton, N.J., the agency said.
Merck's patent on the drug expired Friday.
To learn more about high cholesterol, visit the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.