NEW YORK: Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. said federal officials conducted a search of the Indian drugmaker’s U.S. corporate offices in Princeton, New Jersey, on Wednesday.
Ranbaxy, in a statement issued on Thursday, said the search came “as a surprise,” and the company was not aware of any wrongdoing.
Charles Caprariello, a spokesman for the Ranbaxy U.S. affiliate, said officials of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration conducted a broad search of the premises “and took a variety of documents.”
“It’s been a wide dragnet -- a sweep of questions -- and we’ve tried to work with them in answering everything they’ve asked,” Caprariello said. “But there are a lot more questions than answers right now.”
Asked whether the investigation was criminal or civil in nature, Caprariello said, “It would be premature for anyone to speculate at this time. We’re trying to probe to find out more.”
Nor would he speculate on whether the search might be focusing on Ranbaxy’s sales or marketing practices. “I can’t say whether it is or isn’t because I don’t know yet.”
FDA spokeswoman Catherine McDermott said the agency could not “confirm or deny FDA involvement” in the Ranbaxy case, referring calls to the Department of Justice.
A spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor’s office in Maryland -- where the FDA is headquartered -- said the office could not comment on pending investigations.
Ranbaxy, India’s top drugmaker by sales, reported net profit of $42 million for the October-December quarter.
Its sales in the United States, where the company introduced 10 new products last year, rose 16 % during the quarter. Fueling results was strong demand for Simvastatin, its generic form of Merck & Co. Inc.’s Zocor cholesterol fighter.
Ranbaxy has said it aims to be among the world’s top five generic players, with $5 billion in annual sales by 2012.
Shares of Ranbaxy closed down 5.1 % in Bombay.