Thanks to the launch of its generic version of Pfizer's cholesterol blockbuster Lipitor, Ranbaxy Laboratories has posted a four-fold leap in earnings for the first quarter.

Net income at the Indian drugmaker reached 12.47 billion rupees, about $248 million, up from 3.04 billion rupees in the like, year-earlier period.  Sales for the quarter came in at 37.00 billion rupees, a leap of 55%.

The rise was driven by a 172% jump in revenues from North America to 20.93 billion rupees. Although Ranbaxy, which is majority-owned by Daiichi Sankyo, gave no specific figures for products, the figure was boosted by the introduction of generic Lipitor (atorvastatin) with partner Teva in the USA, as well as a version of Pfizer's cardiovascular drug Caduet (atorvastatin/amlodipine).

Turnover from Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States was up 12% at 5.08 billion rupees, although growth was hit by the weaker euro. The Indian market (including Sri Lanka) accounted for 5.00 billion rupees.

Arun Sawhney, Ranbaxy's chief executive, noted that "an important development has been the resumption of exports to the USA from our Indian facility". Over three years ago, an import ban was placed on 30 of Ranbaxy’s generics over manufacturing violations at its Dewas and Paonta Sahib plants.

Mr Sawhney added that "the focus on key products and markets, while maintaining emphasis on further strengthening quality and compliance standards has had a positive impact". He also noted that "efforts to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of resource deployment continue".