Generic drugs hit AstraZeneca profits

AFP/The Local
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Generic drugs hit AstraZeneca profits

Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca on Thursday reported a dip in third-quarter net profits as competition from generic drugmakers, restructuring costs and massive legal charges took their toll.


The group said in a statement that profits after tax sank in the three months to September despite a strong performance in emerging markets and sales of key drugs like cholesterol product Crestor.

During the third quarter, Britain's second-biggest drugmaker was hit by legal charges of 473 million dollars related to ongoing product liability litigation for the anti-psychotic drug Seroquel in the United States.

"We remain firmly on track to achieve our full year financial targets," chief executive David Brennan said in the statement.

"The third quarter performance featured double-digit revenue growth in emerging markets. Revenue also increased in western Europe and established (markets in the) rest of world.

"As expected, the impact of generic competition on several products and the

absence of pandemic flu vaccine revenue led to a challenging quarter in the US."

The group said net profits sank to $1.55 billion (€1.13 billion) in the three months to September, compared with $2.12 billion in the third quarter 2009.

Revenues fell $7.9 billion in the reporting period from €8.2 billion last time around.

Sales in the United States were adversely affected by generic competition for breast cancer treatment Arimidex, asthma drug Pulmicort Respules and high blood pressure drug Toprol-XL.

The group's results were boosted in the third quarter of 2009 by sales of its H1N1 pandemic influenza vaccine.


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