SANOFI-AVENTIS SALES RISE IN FOURTH QUARTER
Sanofi-aventis, the world's third-largest pharmaceutical firm, reported sales grew nearly 5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2005, despite U.S. generic competition on its blockbuster allergy drug Allegra and three other products.
The French-based firm posted net sales of roughly $8.5 billion in the quarter, up 4.8 percent over the previous year's period, sanofi-aventis reported recently.
Fourth-quarter sales of the pharmaceutical business, however, were "significantly affected" by last fall's generic arrival of Allegra (fexofenadine HCl) in the U.S., the firm said. Pharmaceutical sales totaled roughly $7.7 billion in the quarter, up 1.6 percent from the previous year's period, the firm said.
Sale of the firm's top 15 drug products were up 6.8 percent to nearly $5 billion in the quarter, the firm reported. Excluding U.S. generic competition on Allegra and the diabetes treatment Amaryl (glimepiride), growth for the top 15 products would have reached 16.8 percent, the firm said.
Allegra had generated roughly $1.4 billion for the company in the 12 months ending in June 2005. Sales of Allegra dropped 58.5 percent to $193 million in the fourth quarter, while sales of Amaryl dropped 28.6 percent to $163 million in the quarter compared to the previous year.
By contrast, sales of sanofi-avents' top selling blood thinner Lovenox (enoxaparin sodium) totaled $691 million in the 2005 fourth quarter, up 9 percent from the previous year's period.