Sales and profits at AstraZeneca have slumped dramatically in the third quarter as generic competition continues to batter the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker.

The financial results make glum reading – revenue down, profit down, earnings-per-share down, missing analysts’ forecasts.

Net income fell 18%, earnings-per-share dropped 16%, and sales decreased by 6% to $6.25 billion. Revenue in the third quarter was $6.25 billion, down 4% at constant exchange rates.

The company claims the ongoing impact from patent expiries has been the main cause for the slump and accounted for about $350 million in revenue decline in the quarter.

“As expected, our financial performance this year reflects the on-going impact from the loss of exclusivity for several key brands,” Pascal Soriot, chief executive, said in a statement.

AstraZeneca has also been affected by the Chinese bribery probe with sales growth in the country slowing to 13% for the quarter compared with the previous year – but considerably better than competitors in that market. This figure was blamed on “inventory destocking”.

Expectations for the year are still a mid-to-high single digit percentage fall in revenue, with greater erosion to earnings, mainly due to increased investment in R&D and marketing.

However, there are positives among the gloom. The five growth platforms – emerging markets, Japan, Brilinta, diabetes and respiratory franchise – achieved an 8% revenue increase at CER in the quarter and the late-stage pipeline has continued to grow. Since the half year update there have been three new Phase III programme starts and three regulatory filings were accepted for review. The company also said new collaborations with Merck & Co and Janssen and acquisitions of Amplimmune and Spirogen have strengthened the oncology pipeline.

“We continue to focus on the strategic priorities of returning to growth and achieving scientific leadership, and this is reflected in continued investment in our growth platforms and our pipeline,” said Soriot. “I am pleased with the progress we are making, particularly on the pipeline.”

Mike Cooper, analyst at Edison Investment Research, noted the “steady progress” Soriot was making but warned “this all takes time”. However, he added that growth in China remains strong “and well ahead of many of its competitors. A few years ago it was growing significantly behind the market in China, but it appears that the company is now benefiting from tightening its operating procedures during this period”.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has appointed Marc Dunoyer as chief financial officer, who was previously the company’s executive vice president for global portfolio and product strategy and former GlaxoSmithKline head of rare diseases and chairman of the Japan business. He replaces Simon Lowth, who announced his departure in June. Analysts expect this change will see a raft of acquisitions in a bid to counter lost revenue from generic competition.