Novartis’ Sandoz, or specifically its Hexal unit, has wasted no time getting its generic of the blockbuster bloodthinner Plavix onto the market in Germany and at a considerable discount to Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s branded version.

Hexal’s move comes after a frenetic week which saw a German administrative court in Cologne back the rights of the generic drugmaker Yes and a subsidiary of Ratiopharm to sell their copycat versions of Plavix (clopidogrel) straight away. This followed a decision in May by the country’s regulatory authority, the BfArM, to approve generic clopidogrel.

Then, a few days ago, it emerged that Sanofi had appealed to the German higher administrative court in Muenster against the ruling of the Cologne court and requested a temporary suspension of the “immediate execution” of an approval granted to Cimex, a unit of Switzerland’s Schweizerhall. That bid ended in failure and Cimex has enlisted Hexal (and Ratiopharm) to market the drug.

A Hexal spokeswoman confirmed to PharmaTimes World News that the group started selling its 75mg version of clopidogrel on Wednesday. The firm noted that a time when members of health insurance funds in Germany are becoming increasingly concerned about rising contributions and the high cost of medicines, “Hexal is sending a powerful signal: it will be marketing clopidogrel at a price roughly 25% below that of Plavix”.”.

Helmut Fabry, spokesperson for Hexal’s board, said “we are offering physicians and patients the same quality at a lower price and are providing the statutory health insurance funds with considerable cost savings”. The reward will be great for the firm as well seeing as how Plavix sales in Germany in the past year totalled more than 350 million euros.