Paris-based Sanofi-Aventis says that first half 2005 net sales rose 7% versus the same period last year to 13.1 billion euros [[21/07/04b]], on the back of an 11% hike in pharmaceutical sales to 12.4 billion euros, driven by continuing strong sales of its anti-clotting drugs.

The company, which claims that its growth surpassed the world market overall, and the US in particular where it achieved growth at double the market rate, saw its performance driven by a 17% boost in sales of its top 15 products to almost 8 billion euros. Leading the pack was the company’s key blood thinning agents, Plavix (clopidogrel) and Lovenox (enoxaparin), which climbed 21% to 974 million euros and 17% to 1 billion euros respectively. Allegra (fexofenadine) for allergies rose 13% to 818 million euros, while the oncology agent, Taxotere (docetaxel), was up 11% to 764 million euros.

The company did not provide an update on its forecasts for the remainder of the year, although it has previously said that net sales will be ahead of the world pharmaceutical market, and earnings per share will fall in line with the 2004 rate [[01/03/05c]]. The firm certainly has a robust pipeline, including the anti-obesity drug, Acomplia (rimonabant), which has been filed with the US regulatory body [[23/06/05f]], but it needs new big earners to offset the potential decline in sales of Plavix [[10/05/05d]], Lovenox [[14/03/05b]], Allegra [[07/02/05b]], as it feels the force of impending generic competition. The insomnia drug, Ambien (zolpidem), is already suffering from heightened competition in the marketplace, following the recent launch of Sepracor’s Lunesta (eszopiclone) [[08/04/05f]].