Higher sales of its Cholesterol treatment drug Crestor helped AstraZeneca record a 2 percent growth in it pre-tax profit for 2010. Sales for the pharmaceutical giant were up by 3 percent to $33.3 billion while profit for the full year was recorded at $10.98 billion (£6.9 billion).
Better sales in markets outside the US helped the company while in US, it was struggling was falling sales as more drugs came off patent and competition from generic drug-makers heated up.
For the first time, sales in emerging markets cross the $5 billion mark.
Outlining the challenges ahead, the company said in a statement: “The coming years will be challenging for the industry and for the company as its revenue base transitions through a period of exclusivity losses and new product launches”.
Other blockbuster drugs were Seroquel XR- a drug used to treat bi-polar disorder and Symbicort- used to treat Asthma apart from Crestor – which saw a double digit growth in demand in 2010.
In December, the company was forced to write-off $445 million in expenses after the further development of its antibody Motavizumab – to treat respiratory infections, was called off. Its heart treatment drug Brilinta was also delayed last month after USFDA sought more information about the drugs possible side effects.
The Anglo-Swedish drug-maker ploughed back $2.1 billion in profits by buying back shares in 2010 and said it plans to buyback another $4 billion worth shares this year.
AstraZeneca employs 11,000 people in the UK while it has a workforce of 67,000 worldwide.