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Generic drug will hit Astra Zeneca profits

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13:40 CET+01:00
A cheaper copy of Astra Zeneca's blood pressure drug Toprol-XL being manufactured and sold by American Eon Labs, a producer of generic drugs, will push down profits at the Swedish-British company, it said on Wednesday.

Astra Zeneca is facing extra costs of $150 million due to the launch of the generic copy. The costs will affect the company's profit for the year's final quarter report.

The prognosis for this year's sale of Toprol-XL, known in Sweden as Seloken Zok, represents about 5 billion kronor of Astra's profit, and 20% of the company's total profit for the sale of the drug in the USA.

A court ruled in January that Astra's patent right was invalid, due to a formal error in the application form. Staffan Ternby, spokesman for Astra in Sweden says that the case is not closed.

“There will be negotiations in an appeal court on 8th December. We will then see what will happen,” says Staffan Ternby.

Astra Zeneca has already taken measures to counteract Eon Labs' move. A legal generic version of Toprol-XL will be manufactured and distributed by Par Pharmaceutical. The original drug will still be available for sale. But the prognosis is still good for the sales of Toprol-XL.

“We have done this to be able to compete with Eon Labs sale of the drug in the USA. The competition will be fierce once Astra's patent right expires in September of next year, especially when the market will then open up to copies of Toprol-XL,” said Staffan Ternby to The Local.

“Even if we have to take the figures generated by the sales of Toprol-XL out of consideration, we can count on strong growth. The sales will rise in accordance with the rate of the world market, which is about 5-7%.” said Ternby.

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