A slowdown in growth in emerging markets has contributed to lower-than expected financial results for Sanofi in the third quarter.

The French drugmaker had already cut its full-year forecast in August but was now expecting a drop of 10% for its full-year earnings per share compared with 2012.

Emerging markets, which make up nearly a third of the firm’s revenues, still saw an increase in sales for the quarter – up 2.8% to €2.6 billion. But growth has slowed as a result of lower sales of generics in Brazil and a slowdown of the Chinese pharma market, mainly as a result of the bribery probe there.

Sales in China increased 5% in the third quarter. But this contrasts with recorded growth in the three months to end-June, before the bribery probe, of 15.3% year-on-year. Media reports have claimed that many doctors in the country are now no longer seeing sales reps and a number of companies are expecting downturns in sales as a result. But Sanofi notes sales are now returning to normal in the country.  

While sales in Brazil decreased 17.4%, reflecting lower sales of generics, Eastern Europe and Turkey saw single-digit increases. But it is Russia that has shone as a strong performer with sales up 10.3% to €208 million.  

Meanwhile, Western Europe continues to be gripped by generic competition and austerity measures, with sales for the firm decreasing 4.8% to €1.9 billion. But the company notes that sales trends in Western Europe have gradually been improving in the last four quarters. In the USA, the third quarter returned to growth, with sales up 5.2% to €2.9 billion aided by a strong diabetes performance and a lessen impact of patent expiries.

Analysts had forecast sales to reach €8.57 billion but the company was only able to bring in €8.43 billion in the quarter.

Growth was seen however in Genzyme, which grew 21.1% to €529 million driven by the 11.1% growth of the rare disease franchise and the launch of multiple sclerosis drug Aubagio.

Sanofi expects profits to rise in the fourth quarter, the company’s chief executive Chris Viehbacher said. “Nothing in the third quarter gives us any cause for concern for the fourth.”