Page last updated at 10:09 GMT, Thursday, 17 April 2008 11:09 UK

Roche rues bird flu drug decline

Tamiflu tablets
Governments had stockpiled Tamiflu in previous quarters

Swiss drugs firm Roche has missed analysts' sales forecasts, after demand for cancer medicine Herceptin slowed and revenue from flu drug Tamiflu fell.

Roche's shares were dented after sales fell 4% to 10.9bn Swiss francs (5.5bn; ($10.9bn) in the first quarter of 2008.

However, when the impact of Tamiflu was excluded, sales rose by 9%.

Tamiflu sales slumped 64% from the same period a year earlier, when governments stockpiled the drug amid fears of avian influenza (bird flu).

But while Herceptin sales also slowed, demand for another of its cancer drugs, Avastin, rose by 35%.

Most drug firms are seeing their earnings growth slow as patents on products expire.

Chief executive officer Severin Schwan said the firm was "on track" to achieve its 2008 targets.

The firm added that its results had been damaged by the dollar's weakness against the Swiss franc.

However, it said that its large research and production facilities in the US meant it was partly hedged against the falling value of the dollar.

Tamiflu boosts drug firm's profit
07 Feb 07 |  Business
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05 Jan 07 |  Health
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