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Thursday, August 6, 1998 Published at 09:15 GMT 10:15 UK


Business: The Company File

Pound batters drug giant

Drug sales are strong..but not strong enough

Zeneca, the UK pharmaceuticals company, saw 81m wiped off its profits by the high pound.

The company reported overall profits of 654m for the first half of the year, down 2% and just below the consensus forecast of 660m.

Sales were up 5% to 2.9bn ($4.7bn), with drug sales particularly strong in the US.

But stripping out currency effects, profits would have been up 10% on sales 11% higher.

Growth strong in US market

Zeneca's drug sales were particularly strong in the US market, with a strong 24% increase.

Zeneca specialises in anti-cancer drugs, and sales increased for its three major products: Zoladex, prostate cancer drug Casodex, and breast cancer drug Nolvadex.

Its new anti-migrane Zomig and anti-asthma drug Accolate were also doing well, with a roll-out in the UK and Europe due to boost sales of the latter.

Growth in Europe was 9%, while drug sales in Japan fell 1% following the weak economy and firmer government price controls.





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