Pharma giants beat revenue expectations

November 25, 2021 | 12:13
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Pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, Novartis, Roche, and GSK performed well in the first three quarters of 2021, with plans to venture further into the lucrative Vietnamese market.
Roche and others are cashing in thanks to new products, Photo: Le Toan
Roche and others are cashing in thanks to new products, Photo: Le Toan

Novartis Vietnam is seeking to deepen its footprint in the most profitable hospital channel in the country. On November 17, Novartis collaborated with the Health Strategy and Policy Institute on organising a workshop to improve appropriate hospitalisation in Vietnam.

The new Angiotensin Receptor-Neprilysin Inhibitor (ARNI) treatment developed by Novartis is already being applied in many hospitals in Vietnam, proving its efficiency as it helps reduce cardiovascular fatalities by up to 20 per cent compared to routine treatments.

Vietnam is facing a big burden of people suffering from non-communicable diseases like heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer – but it opens up a lucrative market for Novartis and other multinational corporations.

For instance, according to Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Ngoc Quang, deputy director of the National Heart Institute in Vietnam, there have not yet been official statistics about the number of heart failure patients. Yet, it is estimated that 320,000 to 1.6 million people are living with this condition and would need treatment.

With its third-quarter results, Swiss giant Novartis achieved earnings of $1.71 per share, increasing from $1.52 a year ago. Its sales went up 6 per cent, driven by the momentum from its key brands like Cosentyx, Entresto, and Zolgensma, as well as the launch of Kesimpta, which continues to accelerate. The company’s innovative medicines division recorded sales of $10.6 billion, up 7 per cent on-year.

Likewise, Pfizer has benefited from worldwide use of its COVID-19 vaccine. The American group is also enjoying increased profits and revenues from its oral antiviral medication Paxlovid for the treatment of COVID-19.

The drugmaker saw its revenue increase 134 per cent to $24.1 billion in the third quarter from $10.27 billion in the same period last year. Seeing growing demand, Pfizer has raised its revenue forecast from coronavirus vaccine sales to $36 billion for the whole of 2021, up from the estimation of $33.5 billion in July.

Similarly, Roche Vietnam is among the world’s leading healthcare companies and seeks to venture into the local oncology drug segment via a programme to raise people’s awareness about innovative cancer treatment. In August, two such events were held by Roche Vietnam in collaboration with societies and hospitals where advances in the treatments of lung cancer patients and improvements in the treatment of breast cancer topped the agenda.

Roche is one of several multinationals in Vietnam’s pharma industry that boasts strong cooperation with the Ministry of Health, societies, hospitals, and stakeholders.

Globally, Roche reported third-quarter 2021 sales at $17.24 billion, up from $15.87 billion last year, and with an average sales growth of 8 per cent. In October, Roche raised its 2021 sales forecast following the rising demand for COVID-19 tests and medicines.

The company now predicts that total sales for this year will grow in the mid-single digit range at constant exchange rates, having previously expected them to rise in the low to mid-single digit percentage range.

According to analysis from the People’s Vaccine Alliance (PVA), Pfizer, BioNTech, and Moderna are making as much as $65,000 of combined profits every minute, based on calculations of the firms’ earning reports. The profits are generated from their much-in-demand COVID-19 vaccines.

By Bich Thuy

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