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n a surprise move, U.S. regulators approved a generic version of Teva Pharmaceutical’s (TEVA) Copaxone multiple sclerosis drug earlier than investors expected. And the decision portends big changes not only for Teva — Copaxone is a key contributor to its sales and profits — but also for generic companies more broadly, as far as some Wall Street wags are concerned.

The approval creates a heightened challenge for Teva, which is already in disarray. Two months ago, the drug maker — which is the world’s biggest purveyor of generics — missed earnings estimates, lowered its profit guidance for the year, cut its dividend by 75 percent, and disclosed plans to axe another 1,000 jobs and close 15 manufacturing plants.  Then there’s its $35 billion debt load.

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