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Sales figures at Roche unlikely to help share price

Drug sales at Roche remain below the industry average Keystone Archive

The pharmaceuticals giant, Roche, says drug sales fell in the first quarter, compared to the same period last year. Roche's share price has slumped in recent months amid mounting concern about weak sales.

Sales of key pharmaceutical products were down two per cent at SFr4.49 billion ($2.64 billion), although first quarter sales overall were supported by the diagnostics division and were up four per cent at SFr7 billion.

Concerns over weak drug sales at Roche have pushed the share price sharply lower in recent months – certificates have lost almost 30 per cent of their value since the beginning of the year.

The company said sales had been depressed by the expiry of patent covers in the United States and by lower US sales for Rocephin due to a very mild flu season.

It said it had launched a new marketing campaign to boost sales of its anti-obesity drug, Xenical.

And it repeated its forecast that its pharmaceuticals division would pick up in the second half of the year, while diagnostics would continue to show double-digit growth.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR