Patent expirations hit AstraZeneca profits

Anglo-Swedish pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca announced a 4-percent revenue decrease in the second quarter, citing the loss of exclusivity of several key brands.

Patent expirations hit AstraZeneca profits

AstraZeneca cited a $1,086 million second-quarter profit, compared to 2012 second-quarter profits of $1,745 million. Revenue was down 4 percent, but with currency fluctuations, chiefly of the Japenese yen, taken into account, the real revenue loss reached about 6 percent, the company stated.

“We have made real progress in the second quarter against our strategic priorities despite the anticipated impact on revenue of the loss of exclusivity for some brands,” CEO Pascal Soriot said in a statement.

The company underlined that while expired patents account for much of its downturn, the loss of exclusivity of certain drugs had been halved since the first quarter.

AstraZeneca recently lost market exclusivity for schizophrenia treatment Seroquel IR and heart-failure medication Atacand in many markets, and for anti-cholesterol drug Crestor in Canada.

In March, the company announced plans to cut 5,050 jobs, about 9 percent of its current global workforce, over the next three years as it faces increased competition amid patent expiries.

The company further cited several new drugs in the pipeline, purchases of Omthera Pharmaceuticals and Pearl Therapeutics, a collaboration with FibroGen and research investments in the UK as factors underpinning the potential for stable growth in the future.

TT/AFP/The Local/at

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Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland

Norway, which has suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine until further notice, will send 216,000 doses to Sweden and Iceland at their request, the Norwegian health ministry said Thursday.

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland
Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“I’m happy that the vaccines we have in stock can be put to use even if the AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in Norway,” Health Minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The 216,000 doses, which are currently stored in Norwegian fridges, have to be used before their expiry dates in June and July.

Sweden will receive 200,000 shots and Iceland 16,000 under the expectation they will return the favour at some point. 

“If we do resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will get the doses back as soon as we ask,” Høie said.

Like neighbouring Denmark, Norway suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab on March 11 in order to examine rare but potentially severe side effects, including blood clots.

Among the 134,000 AstraZeneca shots administered in Norway before the suspension, five cases of severe thrombosis, including three fatal ones, had been registered among relatively young people in otherwise good health. One other person died of a brain haemorrhage.

On April 15, Norway’s government ignored a recommendation from the Institute of Public Health to drop the AstraZeneca jab for good, saying it wanted more time to decide.

READ MORE: Norway delays final decision on withdrawal of AstraZeneca vaccine 

The government has therefore set up a committee of Norwegian and international experts tasked with studying all of the risks linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which is also suspected of causing blood clots.

Both are both based on adenovirus vector technology. Denmark is the only European country to have dropped the AstraZeneca
vaccine from its vaccination campaign, and said on Tuesday it would “lend” 55,000 doses to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.