AstraZeneca sales fall on expiring patents

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca this morning posted a 19 per cent slump in revenue over the three months to September, hurt by negative exchange rate movements.

The loss of patents on some top-selling drugs accounted for most of the decline, the drugs company said this morning, as revenue for the third quarter came in at $6.7bn (£4.2bn). This compares to $8.2bn over the same period last year.

Operating profit over the three months fell 47 per cent to $2.2bn.

The results mean new chief executive Pascal Soriot, who began his tenure on 1 October, has his work cut out for him.

He said this morning: “As expected, the company's financial performance in 2012 largely reflects the ongoing impact from the loss of exclusivity for several brands in key markets, as well as the challenges that confront the pharmaceutical industry as a whole.”

Soriot added that his priority going forward was to “restore the company to growth and scientific leadership”.