German drugmaker Bayer has reported a set of on-target results for 2010 booking sales of 35.1 billion euros, up 13% from the prior year and marking the highest ever recorded in the company's history.

Sales of the HealthCare subgroup grew 5.8% to 17 billion euros, following respectable performances from both the pharmaceuticals and consumer health divisions, but earnings were held back by generic competition and health system reforms, the firm said.

Turnover booked by the pharmaceuticals unit climbed 4.2% to just shy of 11 billion euros, as significant growth in the Asia/Pacific and Latin America/Africa/Middle East regions was dragged down by sales in North America, hit by generic competition for the YAZ (drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol) line of oral contraceptives.

Among the best performers, the haemophilia medicine Kogenate (recombinant antihaemophilic factor) overshot the 1 billion-euro threshold for the first time after a 10.3% increase in sales, while cancer drug Nexavar (sorafenib) jumped 11.7%. On the downside, revenues from the YAZ franchise slid 15.8% and multiple sclerosis drug Betaferon/Betaseron (interferon beta 1b) dropped 5%.

Sales in the Consumer Health segment climbed by 8.8% to 6 billion euros, with all regions contributing to growth. 

But earnings before special items of Bayer HealthCare slipped 1.4% to 4.4 billion euros, with various countries’ health system reforms alone cutting into sales and earnings by some 160 million euros. “Overall we expect these reforms to have a significant negative impact in 2011 as well,” said Management Board Chairman Marijn Dekkers.

It was a similar picture for the group overall, as net income for the year was down 4.3% to 1.3 billion euros, as special charges of charges of 1.7 billion euros - including litigation and impairment items - really ate into the results.

For the fourth quarter, sales jumped 14.5% to 9 billion euros, and earnings (before special items) was up 11.6% at 1.7 billion euros, largely because of due to the "strong growth in earnings at MaterialScience and positive currency effects".

Please see PharmaTimes World News tomorrow for a more detailed analysis of Bayer's results from our reporter on location in Leverkusen, Germany.