Transatlantic Drugmakers Team Up

The battle among drug companies for over-the-counter shelf space is heating up. On July 28, British drugmakers Glaxo Holdings and Wellcome announced separate plans to team up with Warner-Lambert. Glaxo and Warner-Lambert plan to form a joint venture aimed at developing and marketing a version of Glaxo's $3.2 billion ulcer drug, Zantac. Wellcome and Warner-Lambert have established a partnership that will do the same for a version of Wellcome's $1 billion antiviral medication,Zovirax.

The British companies are hoping that Warner-Lambert's marketing muscle can help stave off share erosion as patent expiration--and generic competition--loom for Zovirax and Zantac.

News on Wellcome's AIDS drug, AZT: A North Carolina court recently upheld the company's exclusive patent rights, effectively barring two U.S. rivals from selling generic clones.

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