The firm reported profits of $3.853 billion on total revenues of $15.659 billion in the six months to the end of June 2009, up 0.2 percent on the corresponding period of 2008.
“Our business performance, in the context of tough global economic conditions, has been better than we anticipated,” said Chief Executive David Brennan in the company’s earnings statement.
The company explained the positive results by strong sales of the cholesterol drug Crestor and hypertension treatment Toprol XL.
“Since the first quarter several important registration applications have been submitted and approved, which displays the continued success of our research portfolio,” Brenna said.
The company raised its profits forecast for the full year 2009.
Following publication of the results, Astra Zeneca’s share price rose 2.21 percent at 2,865 pence on London’s FTSE 100 index, which was up 1.26 percent.