Glenmark to begin selling generic malaria drug

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd. received approval on Wednesday from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its generic drugs unit to sell a generic version of GlaxoSmithKline PLC's drug Malarone, which is used to treat the potentially fatal malaria disease.  

Glenmark settled a patent litigation suit with GlaxoSmithKline in April 2010 over atovaquone and proguanil hydrochloride 250 milligram/100 mg tablets, which are the generic version of Malarone, Fox Business reports.

The company has the ability to sell the generic tablets under a royalty-bearing license from GlaxoSmithKline by the third quarter of 2011. Glenmark is entitled to 180 days of exclusivity on the products because it was the first company to file the generic drug application with the FDA.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, malaria is the fifth leading cause of death worldwide from infectious diseases and the second leading cause of death from infectious diseases in Africa.

In 2008, the World Health Organization estimated that there were between 700,000 and 1,000,000 deaths resulting from the disease.

Though malaria has been eradicated in the United States since the early 1950s, there are still 1,500 U.S. cases of malaria reported each year.

In the U.S. alone, sales of Malarone were close to $56 million dollars in 2009.