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Emerging markets and diabetes help Sanofi weather Plavix patent loss

Sales climb although worst effects of generic competition for the company's blood clot prevention drug are still to come

Sanofi managed second quarter sales growth of 6.2 per cent as its diabetes portfolio and growth in emerging markets helped counter the first effects of generic competition for big-selling blood clot prevention drug Plavix.

The French pharma firm made total revenues of €8.87bn during the period, compared to €8.35bn in 2011, although the worst effects of the patent expiry for Plavix (clopidogrel) are still to come following the drug's loss of exclusivity in May, 2012.

Worldwide sales for the drug were down 43.3 per cent to €1.1bn during the quarter, and this decline is expected to continue with Sanofi expecting €1.4bn to be knocked off net income during 2012 due to patent expiries for both Plavix and its hypertension treatment Avapro.

The latter drug, which is used to treat high blood pressure, saw a year-on-year sales drop of 22.3 per cent to take in $382m between April and June.

“The impact of the Plavix and Avapro loss of exclusivity in the US was €331m on the business net income which is consistent with the Group's previously announced projected impact of around €1.4bn in 2012,” said the company in a statement.

To overcome this loss, Sanofi said it is continuing to look to areas of growth, such as its diabetes portfolio, which another strong quarter with sales up 13.7 per cent. This was driven by the performance of insulin Lantus, which managed revenues of €1.23bn – up by 16.5 per cent compared to 2011.

In addition, emerging markets proved a continued area of optimism for Sanofi, with revenues up 9.8 per cent to €2.82bn. This compared to a decline in Western European sales of 11 per cent and growth of 3 per cent in the US.

In terms of total business net income, Sanofi reported a year-on-year decline of 9.6 per cent to €1.94bn.

This was primarily down to a charge of €118m linked to Tritace (ramipril) litigation in Canada after batches of the drug were found to contain intact but empty capsules - meaning that patients taking them may not receive the dose of medication needed to treat their condition.

30th July 2012

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