Bayer has posted a decline in earnings and sales for the second quarter, but pharmaceuticals are continuing to grow as the German firm’s MaterialScience unit drags the figures down.

Net income fell 7.3% to 532 million euros, a less dramatic decline than expected by analysts, while group turnover was down 5.9% to 8.00 billion euros. However, sales at Bayer’s healthcare division were up 8.3% to 4.05 billion euros, helped by a favourable currency impact, while pharmaceutical revenues increased 9.1% to 2.63 billion euros.

Growth was driven by Betaferon/Betaseron (interferon beta 1b) for multiple sclerosis (274 million euros; +16.8%) and the Yasmin (ethinyl estradiol/drospirenone) contraceptive franchise which climbed 6.6% to 320 million euros. Mirena, the firm’s levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine contraceptive system, contributed 137 million euros, up 16.1%. The haemophilia agent Kogenate (recombinant antihaemophilic factor), edged up 1.1% to 184 million euros, and the antibiotic Avelox (moxifloxacin) rose 2.2% to 92 million euros.

Nexavar (sorafenib), which is approved for liver as well as advanced kidney cancer, contributed 147 million euros, up 36.1%. Sales of the hypertension treatment Adalat (nifedipine) were up 2.5% to 162 million euros, and the erectile dysfunction drug Levitra (vardenafil) climbed 7.1% to 90 million euros, the same total as the antibiotic Cipro/Ciprobay (ciprofloxacin; +16.9%).

Bayer chairman Werner Wenning said that “the second quarter as a whole fully met our expectations” and “we are adhering to our ambitious earnings targets” before special items of 5% growth for the full year. Sales are forecast to reach 31-32 billion euros.