Plavix, the brand name for the blood-thinning drug taken by millions of people with heart disease to avoid heart attacks and strokes, will soon be on pharmacy shelves in generic form.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave approval to the generic versions this week.
Plavix, whose generic name is clopidogrel, was made and marketed through a partnership of Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb. It had U.S. sales of about $6.7 billion for the 12 months ending March 31, 2012, according to IMS Health. The companies will try to retain sales revenue through some discounting.
The drug is for people who already have some history of heart disease and need to avoid clotting problems that might lead to further heart attacks or a stroke.