Company News from the 10/31/06 News Brief

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Hit by generic competition to blood thinner Plavix (clopidogrel) in the US and by measures to curb healthcare costs in France and Germany, Sanofi-Aventis said profits slipped 12% in the third quarter. Sales fell 4.2% to $8.8 billion after the Aug. 8 launch of generic clopidogrel by Canadian generics firm Apotex. The Paris-based firm said reforms in France and Germany put pressure on doctors to curb prescriptions, and some products were harmed by parallel imports. Still, it saw increased sales of inline products Lovenox (stroke), Taxotere and Eloxatin, both for cancer, as well as for Ambien (insomnia) and Lantus (diabetes). Obesity drug Acomplia (rimonabant), which has launched in seven European countries, rang up third-quarter sales of $14 million. The drug is under review by the FDA, and Sanofi-Aventis said it submitted a complete response this month to the agency’s approvable letter, issued in February.
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