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AZ sees decrease in Q4 profit

AstraZeneca has reported a decrease in profit before tax of two per cent for the fourth quarter of 2010

AstraZeneca (AZ) has reported profit before tax for the fourth quarter of 2010 as $2.73bn, a decrease of two per cent at constant exchange rates from the previous year.

A fall in revenue of three per cent contributed to the negative growth, with sales affected by the loss of US and European patents for a number of products, as well as the lack of an H1N1 pandemic influenza vaccine.

Sales of asthma medication, Pulmicort (budesonide) were particularly hit by a generic budesonide  product from Teva, with US sales falling 70 per cent to $68m. Casodex (bicalutamide) also saw generic competition affect performance with revenue falling 89 per cent in the US and 28 per cent in Western Europe.

However, figures for the whole of 2010 were slightly more positive for AZ with profit before tax increasing by one per cent to just over $13bn. Revenue for the year remained flat at around $33bn.

Well-performing drugs for the company included cholesterol product, Crestor (rosuvastatin calcium), with the drug seeing a revenue increase of 26 per cent for the fourth quarter of 2010. Sales of Crestor were also positive for the year as a whole, increasing 24 per cent to $5.70bn. Other drugs to top $5bn in revenue for 2010 included Symbicort (budesonide and formoterol) for asthma and antipsychotic Seroquel XR (quetiapine fumarate).

David Brennan, chief executive officer, AZ, said: "Our performance in 2010 underlines the strength and resilience of AstraZeneca's business. Despite government pricing pressures and anticipated patent expiries in the US and  Western Europe, our revenues remained in line with the previous year driven by excellent performance of our key brands and continued growth in emerging markets.

"This performance, combined with disciplined management of the business enabled us to deliver increased earnings, increase the dividend and return residual cash to shareholders through share repurchases."

27th January 2011

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