Daiichi Sankyo, which owns a majority stake in Ranbaxy Laboratories, is to begin selling the Indian drugmaker's products in the rapidly-growing marketing of Venezuela.

Up to now, Ranbaxy has been marketing its drugs in Venezuela through a local distributor, but Daiichi Sankyo will now take over this role and has already started promotion. The Venezuelan pharmaceutical market is the third largest in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico, and it is valued at around $6-$7 billion, the 20th largest in the world.

Daiichi Sankyo noted that it started business in Venezuela before the other Japanese pharmaceutical companies, selling its own drugs such as  the antihypertensive Benicar (olmesartan medoxomil). The later was launched in Mexico just last week.

The Tokyo-based group says the move reflects its "hybrid business model", encompassing its own innovative drugs and Ranbaxy's generics. This model has already been adopted in Mexico, as well as in Romania and Singapore.