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US approves generic sleep drugs

24th April 2007

The United States' drug regulatory body has approved more than a dozen generic versions of the sleeping pill zolpidem tartrate.

Although the drug, which was developed by France's Sanofi-Aventis as Ambien, has been linked to sleep-walking and allergic reactions, it was approved by officials at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Sanofi sold around US$2.5 billion worth of Ambien in the US in 2006.

Thirteen companies, including Mylan Laboratories, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Watson Laboratories and Ranbaxy Laboratories, have been cleared to produce cheaper generic versions of Ambien.

The drugs will be sold in 5mg and 10mg doses to treat short-term bouts of insomnia.


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