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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

FDA approves first generic versions of Pfizer's blockbuster anti-inflammatory drug Celebrex

WASHINGTON - The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved the first generic versions of Pfizer's anti-inflammatory painkiller Celebrex.

The blockbuster drug, known generically as celecoxib, is used to treat pain, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and other conditions.

The FDA approved low-cost versions from generic drugmakers Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited and Mylan Inc. Teva has exclusive marketing rights to three doses of the drug for 180 days. Mylan Pharmaceuticals received approval for the lowest dose of the drug, 50 milligrams.

Celebrex was Pfizer Inc.'s fourth bestselling drug last year with sales of $2.92 billion. Capsules of the drug, generally taken twice a day, can range in price from about $60 to $300 a month, depending on the strength. Generic drugs can cost between 30 to 80 per cent less than the original branded products.

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