AstraZeneca’s sales dragged down by loss of statin patent

Analysts said the firm had a good pipeline of new drugs to make up for the loss of sales.


Undated handout photo issued by AstraZeneca of test tubes used in research and development in a laboratory.
Undated handout photo issued by AstraZeneca of test tubes used in research and development in a laboratory.

AstraZeneca has taken a knock on its sales, but said the loss of exclusivity on its blockbuster statin is being countered by revenue growth from new drugs.

Total revenues in the half-year were down 1% to 10.3 billion dollars (£7.8 billion), but there was a sales improvement in the second quarter, with sales rising 2% to 5.2 billion dollars (£3.9 billion).

Product sales – which make up the majority of AstraZeneca’s revenues – were up 2% in the six month period to 10.0 billion dollars (£7.6 billion).

Sales from new medicines rose 75%, while revenues from the firm’s emerging markets business were up by 14%.

Profit before tax slumped 27%, down from 1.1 billion dollars (£835 million) to 786 million dollars (£597 million).

The patent on one of AstraZeneca’s key drugs, the anti-cholesterol treatment Crestor, has expired in Europe and Japan, which has knocked the pharmaceutical company’s sales.

George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “It’s out with the old, in with the new at AstraZeneca.

The pipeline remains attractive and the push into emerging markets will aid the turnaround in sales.
Helal Miah

“Astra hasn’t got exclusivity on blockbuster anti-cholesterol drug Crestor any more, and that’s causing big falls in sales revenue.

“New drugs have come through, but up to now have struggled to fill the multibillion-dollar void left by the drop in Crestor.

“However, we’re finally getting closer to the point where new treatments like Lynparza and Tagrisso pick up the slack.”

At time of writing, AstraZeneca’s shares were up 2.5% or 137p to 5.700p.

Helal Miah, an investment research analyst at The Share Centre, said the focus on research and development at the firm was helping to bring rewards to the company.

“The pipeline remains attractive and the push into emerging markets will aid the turnaround in sales,” he said.

“These drivers have taken the share price to all-time highs but we believe that there is more to come.”

Press Association

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