Nycomed has posted a 7.6% decline in turnover for the first quarter to 776.4 million euros, hit by the effects of generic competition to its gastrointestinal drug pantoprazole.

The Switzerland-headquartered company’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation reached 233.1 million euros, down 24.1%. Nycomed did not give any specific figures for pantoprazole but noted a recent decision by a jury in the USA which ruled that the patent on the drug, sold across the Atlantic as Protonix by now Pfizer-owned Wyeth, was valid and had been infringed by Teva.

The Israeli company has been selling a generic version of the drug since 2007 and Nycomed says that as soon as the decision is final, “the companies will be seeking the full measure of their damages”. Analysts believe that could be worth $1 billion to Nycomed.

Despite the sales and earnings declines, chief executive Hakan Bjorklund said “we saw a very satisfactory performance in the first quarter of 2010 confirming our direction”. Noting that the firm is doing well in the emerging markets, he also made reference to the recent recommendation for approval from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use for its chronic obstructive pulmonary disease treatment Daxas (roflumilast) in Europe.

A co-promotion agreement with Merck & Co for several European countries and Canada has also been signed for Daxas and “all of this confirms our belief in the future of this product,” Mr Bjorklund said.