Roche Q3 sales drop as Tamiflu demand fades

AP News
Posted: Oct 14, 2010 11:35 AM
Roche Q3 sales drop as Tamiflu demand fades

Pharmaceuticals maker Roche Holding AG on Thursday reported its third quarter sales dropped 7 percent on lower demand for its antiviral Tamiflu.

Sales were 11.5 billion Swiss francs ($12 billion) in the quarter ended Sept. 30, down from 12.4 billion Swiss francs a year earlier.

The company said in a statement Thursday that sales of Tamiflu, which had spiked during the swine flu pandemic, almost ground to a halt in the U.S. and European markets. The group said it expects Tamiflu sales in the year to total 1 billion Swiss francs, down from 3.2 billion in 2009.

Despite the drop, Roche confirmed its full-year outlook of sales growth in the mid-single-digit range.

Sales in the diagnostic division were up slightly to 2.48 francs from 2.463 a year earlier.

Sales of cancer drug Avastin _ to treat advanced colorectal, breast, lung and kidney cancer, as well as relapsed glioblastoma, a type of brain tumor _ grew 0.8 percent and reached 1.608 billion francs, the Basel-based company said.

Two other cancer drugs, Rituxan _ known as MabThera in Europe _ and Herceptin, also topped a billion-franc, grossing 1.52 billion francs and 1.35 billion francs respectively.

Zuercher Kantonalbank analysts said the sales for both pharmaceuticals and diagnostic equipment were below market expectations.

Roche shares were trading down 0.65 percent at 138.20 Swiss francs.