AstraZeneca to push emerging markets focus

ASTRAZENECA expects double-digit growth in emerging markets, the new battleground for Big Pharma as Western drug sales stall, but said yesterday it would be much more selective than some of its rivals.

The drugmaker is not planning a wholesale rush to sell branded generics in the developing world. Instead, it plans to focus on around 100 medicines in 30 markets where it can achieve favourable pricing.

“We will be very selective in branded generics,” head of global commercial operations Tony Zook said yesterday.

Cheap off-patent medicines sold in high volumes in emerging markets under a multinational brand name are a growing target for major drugmakers, although some investors worry about the impact on margins of this move down the value chain.

Zook said AstraZeneca’s selective approach should limit any margin hit.

AstraZeneca struck its first branded generics supply deal, with India’s Torrent Pharmaceuticals last week.