Pharmaceutical industry leaders Novartis and Merck—among others—released second-quarter 2012 results showing global sales down in third-quarter 2012, with growth in key pharmaceutical products helping to offset losses due to patent expirations.
Novartis reported global sales of $13.8 billion, down 7% from third-quarter 2011, which was a 2% drop on a constant-currency basis, said the company in a press release. Novartis’ Diovan lost exclusivity on Sept. 21, 2012, and, although no generic competitor has yet been approved by FDA, the company expects generic competition to come at any time. The company, however, was positive about the performance of its pharmaceuticals group in the third quarter. Pharmaceutical products launched since 2007 grew 24% in constant currencies from third-quarter 2011 and now represent 36% of net sales. "While Novartis net sales were impacted by the patent expiration of Diovan and a down quarter in Sandoz and Consumer Health, our launch brands performed well,” said Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis, in the relase. “Our excellent record on innovation continues with new approvals for innovative products like Afinitor in advanced breast cancer, the recent EU filing of QVA149 in COPD, and encouraging news in heart failure. I am confident that this improves the long-term growth prospects of the business."
Merck reported global sales of $11.5 billion, down 4% from third-quarter 2011. The results, however, are comparable to third-quarter 2011 if the unfavorable impact of foreign exchange is excluded, said the company in a press release. Strong growth of key pharmaceutical products offset the loss of market exclusivity for Singulair (montelukast sodium) in the US. Patents for Singulair expired in the US in Aug. 2012, which led to a rapid reduction in sales, and will expire in major European markets in Feb. 2013. Sales from emerging markets accounted for approximately 20% of pharmaceutical sales in the third quarter. China continues to be a key driver with 19%t growth for the third quarter, including 1% from foreign exchange.