Impact of patent cliff on Euro pharma

IP Value Wire has reported on the pending financial shortfalls big pharma faces when blockbuster drugs come off patent, and, perhaps more importantly, about the strategic decisions company executives must make to prepare for events (see how Sanofi responded here, and how these measures worked below).The Wall Street Journal reports on earnings at three of Europe’s top pharmaceutical companies, each feeling the effects of the “patent cliff.”

U.K. drug company AstraZeneca reported a third consecutive drop in revenue in the three months to September, and a 17% drop in “core” operating profit, underscoring the difficulties facing new Chief Executive Pascal Soriot, who was quoted as saying, "My priority is to restore the company to growth and scientific leadership."

Swiss drug company Novartis also reported lower earnings, reflecting similar difficulties (though not as severe), as new drug sales failed to offset the loss of sales from Diovan, which went off patent protection in August.

France-based Sanofi reported a significant drop in third quarter net profit to €1.56 billion from €2.03 billion a year earlier, reflecting the full effects of new competition to some of its best-selling drugs. Revenue rose 3.3%, indicating some of the strategies implemented by the new executive management were working, but net profit fell 7.4% due mostly to the loss of U.S. patents on cancer treatment drug Eloxatin, blood thinner Plavix, and high-blood-pressure treatment Avapro.