AstraZeneca says 2Q earnings fell 22 per cent

LONDON – Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca says second-quarter earnings fell 22 per cent after sales of its blockbuster cholesterol drug Crestor dropped sharply after a generic alternative came on the market in the United States.

Core operating profit, which excludes one-time items such as restructuring costs and impairments, dropped to $1.41 billion from $1.81 billion in the second quarter of 2015.

AstraZeneca reported a net loss of $3 million compared with a profit of $697 million a year earlier.

The drugmaker previously announced plans to cut costs so it can devote more resources to cancer drugs. It has warned that investment in research and development to boost the drug pipeline would hurt earnings this year.

CEO Pascal Soriot says the figures were in line with expectations “reflecting the near-term patent expiry challenges.”