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Smooth transition from old to new for AstraZeneca

Published on 31/10/03 at 11:06am

Growth in new products are helping to plug the sizeable gap left by three of AstraZeneca's ageing blockbusters Prilosec (Losec), Zestril and Nolvadex.

The new products Nexium, (gastrointestinal) Crestor (cardiovascular) and Iressa (cancer) maintain the company's presence in the three therapeutic areas of the older drugs.

Chief Executive Tom McKillop said: "The successful transformation of our product range is shown by the replacement of $1.2billion US sales of Prilosec, Zestril and Nolvadex lost to generics by new and high growth products, leaving sales unchanged for the first half".

The company responded to the news and forecasts for the rest of the year by raising our earnings target for the year to the range of $1.65 to $1.75 per share, and also increased its interim dividend by 10% to $0.255.

The company did, however, experience a 7% fall in first half profits, due to higher costs. Spending on business administration and research and development also increased.

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