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Published on 1 February 2008

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AstraZeneca profits hit by generics

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AstraZeneca has revealed full-year profits fell by 4% after it faced increased competition from generic drugs, and counted the cost of its latest restructuring programme.

The pharmaceutical giant, which manufactures cholesterol-lowering treatment Crestor (rosuvastatin) and angina treatment Toprol (metaprolol), reported operating profits of £4.06bn for 2007, against £4.13bn in 2006.

The Macclesfield-based firm said profits were hit by a charge of £485m relating to its restructuring plans announced last summer, under which it aims to cut 7,600 jobs worldwide.

But once the overhaul costs were stripped out, profits actually rose 8%, boosted by a 12% increase in sales to £14.85bn.

However, the UK’s second largest drugmaker said it remains under pressure from rivals.

In a statement the firm said: “The industry faces increasingly challenging market conditions and the pricing demands from payers and competition from generics in major therapeutic categories will continue to pressure the top line.”

The firm also gave an update on the development of new treatments, and said it is aiming for a record number of projects to reach “proof of concept” by the year-end.

It has set itself a target of bringing an average of two medicines to market each year by the end of 2010.

Copyright © PA Business 2008

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