Generics eat away at Sanofi sales, firm says
French pharmaceutical group Sanofi-Aventis said on Thursday its first-quarter sales slid 1.5 percent to 7.8 billion euros ($11.5 billion) as generics continued to nibble at its branded medicines.
Last year's results were also doped up by sales of bird flu vaccine to governments. When these were stripped out, sales growth was 0.1 percent despite the 569 million euros in sales lost to generics, the company said.
Generic medicines are copies of treatments no longer protected by licences.
Net profit fell 28.9 percent however to 1.2 billion euros, but the company said it would not issue updated guidance on 2011 earnings until half-year results are in.
Sanofi-Aventis said it was counting on its purchase of the US biotech firm Genzyme to drive new growth.
"The acquisition of Genzyme adds a new growth platform and a global center for excellence in rare diseases," the company said in a statement.
It called the at least $20.1 billion purchase of Genzyme "an important achievement of the Group's sustainable growth strategy."
In mid-day trading, the company's shares were down 0.49 percent at 53.00 euros while the Paris CAC-40 index was up 0.53 percent.
© 2011 AFP