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Crestor sales top $1 billion for AstraZeneca

Published on 06/05/05 at 10:46am

AstraZeneca's Crestor has achieved blockbuster status, despite continuing concerns over its safety, registering sales of over $1 billion for the 12 months to 31 March.

Crestor has become a blockbuster despite continuing negative publicity centred around its safety, including calls from the campaigning group Public Citizen to have the drug withdrawn.

The FDA's rejection of these demands has helped the drug overcome the controversy, although it still lags far behind Pfizer's market leader, Lipitor.

Crestor's global first quarter sales were $273 million, with the US market accounting for over half this revenue.

US sales more than doubled over the period and Crestor's share of new prescriptions now stands at 6%, up 0.2%.

Safety concerns have centred on cases of rhabdomyolosis, the serious muscle-wasting side-effect, which has been seen most frequently in high doses of the drug.

AstraZeneca will soon launch a 5mg dose in Europe after an agreement was reached with regulators. It will be hoping that the new dose will give doctors added flexibility in treating patients.

Last year the company issued clear guidance to UK healthcare professionals that Crestor must only be initiated at its starting dose, 10mg, after a small number of patients reported serious side-effects after taking high doses of the drug.

Crestor's share of the statin market has reached double digits in a handful of countries, reaching over 12% in Canada, Italy (11.8%) and the Netherlands (10.4%).

In the UK, Crestor's market share has fallen slightly to 3.5%, with the safety concerns among the likely reasons for this.

Overall, AstraZeneca reported impressive first quarter results with the company's net income increasing by 34% to $1.45 billion while sales were up 13% to $5.74 billion.


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