Bayer's third-quarter sales of prescription drugs drop 2.1 percent

Bayer announced Thursday that third-quarter sales of prescription drugs fell 2.1 percent year-over-year to 4.1 billion euros ($4.8 billion), with revenue from Betaferon, Kogenate and Nexavar all slipping. The company's overall revenue declined 2.8 percent to 8 billion euros ($9.5 billion), as net income surged to 3.9 billion euros ($4.6 billion), versus 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion) in the year-ago period, boosted by a gain of 2.8 billion euros ($3.3 billion) from the divestment of Covestro.

According to Bayer, sales of prescription drugs rose 2.3 percent on a currency adjusted basis, with growth mainly due to "continued strong development" of key growth products. The drugs, which include Adempas, Eylea, Stivarga, Xarelto and Xofigo, generated combined revenue of 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion), up 9.1 percent.

The drugmaker noted that for specific products, sales of Xarelto climbed 3.5 percent year-over-year to 799 million euros ($944 million), driven by growth in Europe and Asia, with revenue from the drug in the US, where it is marketed by Johnson & Johnson, rising by a double-digit percentage. Sales of Eylea jumped 14.7 percent to 469 million euros ($554 million), which Bayer said was boosted by "substantial expansion" of volumes in Japan, Europe and Canada.

Meanwhile, quarterly sales of Xofigo increased 20 percent versus the prior-year period to 102 million euros ($121 million), with revenue from Stivarga up 20.3 percent to 77 million euros ($91 million). Further, sales of Adempas lifted 15.4 percent to 75 million euros ($89 million).

For other products, three-month sales of Kogenate/Kovaltry slipped 28.8 percent to 215 million euros ($254 million), which Bayer explained was primarily due "to lower order volumes for the active ingredient placed by a distribution partner." In addition, revenue from Nexavar fell 8.5 percent to 194 million euros ($229 million), while sales of Betaferon/Betaseron slumped 12.3 percent to 143 million euros ($169 million).

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"While our pharmaceuticals division maintained its course of growth, business at consumer health was weak as expected," CEO Werner Baumann remarked. Bayer said that in the quarter, sales in its consumer health unit dropped 7.4 percent year-over-year to 1.3 billion euros ($1.5 billion). The company noted that the decline in sales in North America was largely due to the market environment "remaining challenging" in the US, while the performance in Europe was primarily the result of "weaker business" in Russia after a strong previous quarter.

For the full year, Bayer reaffirmed that overall sales are expected to be between 35 billion euros ($41.4 billion) and 36 billion euros ($42.5 billion), with earnings now forecast to drop by a low-single-digit percentage. For the pharmaceutical unit, sales are now predicted to be approximately 17 billion euros ($20.1 billion), down from an earlier estimate of more than 17 billion euros.

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