In January, AstraZeneca said generic competition in Western Europe and other areas was slashing sales of top sellers including Nexium for severe heartburn, Seroquel IR for schizophrenia and Crestor for high cholesterol. The company's total sales dropped to $28 billion last year, from $33.6 billion in 2011, while net income plunged 37 percent.
So like most of its rivals, AstraZeneca is trying to do more with less staff and improve its success rate in the laboratory and in the expensive patient testing needed to get new drugs approved. The process generally takes a decade or more and costs more than $1 billion per drug, averaging in the costs for hundreds of failed drug candidates.
AstraZeneca shares fell 28 cents to close at $46.18.
Linda A. Johnson can be followed at http://twitter.com/LindaJ_onPharma
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.