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Sales of new medicines boost results for drug makers

Published:Saturday | November 7, 2015 | 1:03 PM


Growing revenue for promising new medicines for cancer, heart disease and other serious conditions helped United States drug makers improve results, and beat Wall Street expectations, after several disappointing quarters.

Buoyed by the stronger third-quarter results and rising prospects, Pfizer Inc., Merck & Co., and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. raised their 2015 profit forecasts, and their share prices rose as the broader markets declined.

Switzerland's Novartis struggled, though, weighed down by lower sales in its Alcon eye care unit and other factors.

All four drug makers were hurt by unfavourable exchange rates cutting the value of foreign sales, which are made in local currencies, by at least seven per cent.

Excluding that, sales were up somewhat - mainly due to strong launches of new drugs that are significant medical advances. That, and the companies' planned launches of new drugs in the next several years, bodes well for their futures.

Including the currency hit, revenue edged down two per cent for Pfizer, which is rebounding after five years of generic competition slashing its revenue.

The New York company still posted $12.09 billion in revenue, beating the average Street forecast of $11.49 billion.