Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has unveiled a fall in first-quarter profits as its best-selling drugs came under pressure from generic rivals.
The group said sales of ulcer treatment Nexium had fallen 9% to £623m, before adding that it expects a “single digit” sales decline in the product this year.
The group, which recently settled a patent dispute with an Indian firm over Nexium, also wrote off £130.1m over a potential generic threat to cancer treatment Ethyol.
Overall pre-tax profits slipped 15% to £1.08bn, lower than expected by the City.
Shares fell almost 5% on the back of the results.
Astra also booked a further £59.2m in costs from its restructuring plans announced last summer, under which it aims to axe 7,600 jobs worldwide.
Chief executive David Brennan pointed to a “growing pipeline” of new medicines – with three regulatory filings due this year – and insisted the firm is on track to meet its full-year targets.
But other Astra products under pressure from generic copies include angina drug Toprol-XL, where sales slumped 60% to £96.1m.
The group said the fall in revenues had been offset by the inclusion of sales from vaccines business MedImmune, which it bought last year.
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