AstraZeneca Korea’s outpatient prescription drug sales expanded by 7 billion won ($6.5 million) in the first quarter from a year earlier, while those of Novartis Korea plunged by 13 billion won, industry data showed Wednesday.
According to data from U-BIST, the top nine drugmakers in outpatient prescriptions in the first quarter were Pfizer Korea with 105.6 billion won sales, Novartis Korea with 69.3 billion won, Boehringer Ingelheim Korea with 69.2 billion won, AstraZeneca with 61.9 billion won, GSK with 39.7 billion won, Bayer Korea with 32.3 billion won, Janssen Korea with 19.6 billion won, Roche Korea with 16.1 billion won, and Sanofi Aventis Korea with 14.4 billion won.
Compared to a year earlier, Novartis Korea had the worst performance with its first-quarter sales plunging by 12.9 billion won year-on-year. The disappointing result apparently stemmed from the regulator’s six-month suspension of insurance coverage on some of Novartis drugs such as Exelon and Zometa from August to February, for giving illegal rebates to doctors.
Among Novartis’ 54 products, more than 40 suffered a sales decline in the first quarter from a year earlier.
Leukemia treatment Glivec, in particular, saw a 3.68 billion won drop in prescriptions. Another leukemia therapy Tasigna also had 1.16 billion won less prescriptions. Dementia drug Exelon, which was on insurance coverage suspension, suffered a 2.36 billion won decline as well.
Boehringer Ingelheim Korea’s outpatient prescriptions also fell by 2.5 billion won in the first quarter from a year earlier due to worsened revenue of cardiovascular disease-related products, despite a sales increase of diabetic drug Jardiance.
Sanofi’s prescription sales went down by 1.7 billion won during the cited period, as insulin treatment Lantus’ sales shrank by 2.68 billion won, despite 620 million won more sales of follow-up insulin therapy Toujeo, and 500 million won more prescriptions of anti-thrombotic combination drug Plavix.
In contrast, AstraZeneca’s outpatient prescriptions climbed by more than 7 billion won in the first quarter, compared to a year earlier.
Lung cancer remedy Tagrisso, which started to benefit from insurance coverage in the fourth quarter last year, significantly contributed to AstraZeneca’s robust growth of first-quarter earnings.
Tagrisso sold 4.78 billion won in the first quarter, making up for the downed sales of lung cancer treatment Iressa that expired in the patent in 2016. Prescriptions of antidiabetic therapy Xigduo went up by 1.67 billion won to 2.31 billion won in the first quarter.
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