Sanofi's figures have taken a hammering as a result of generic competition, problems at its Brazilian operations and "commercial underperformance in certain business areas".

Business net income, which excludes items, fell 23.4% to 1.48 billion euros (at constant exchange rates), principally due to loss of exclusivity on the bloodthinner Plavix (clopidogrel) and the antihypertensive Avapro (irbesartan), both partnered with Bristol-Myers Squibb, as well as on the antithrombotic Lovenox (enoxaparin) and the colorectal cancer drug Eloxatin (oxaliplatin). Turnover fell 9.8% to just over 8.00 billion euros.

Plavix brought in 493 million euros to Sanofi’s coffers, down 1.3% (at constant exchange rates), while Avapro/Aprovel sank 27.5% to 238 million euros. The cancer drug Taxotere (docetaxel) slumped 22.0% to 114 million euros, while Lovenox fell 9.2% to 436 million euros. Eloxatin sales crashed 83.7% to 60 million euros.

On the bright side, the diabetes drug Lantus (insulin glargine) leapt 17.7% to 1.40 billion euros, but sales at Sanofi’s vaccines division edged up just 0.4% to 760 million euros. The consumer healthcare business brought in 729 million euros (+1.8%).

As for Sanofi's Genzyme unit, Cerezyme (imiglucerase) for Gaucher disease rose 18.0% to 171 million euros, and Fabrazyme (agalsidase beta) for Fabry disease increased 28.4% to 91 million euros. The new oral multiple sclerosis drug Aubagio (teriflunomide) brought in 33 million euros.

There is much concern over Brazil, however, and Sanofi says that generic inventory levels in trade channels in the country "were significantly and inappropriately in excess of volumes needed to satisfy sell out demand". It has therefore taken charges totalling 201 million euros.

Speaking on a conference call, chief executive Chris Viehbacher (pictured) said that "there’s no point in sugar-coating this, this is a quarter where we have disappointed. There’s clearly some work to be done".

Regarding Brazil, he said that new local management is now in place but the problems may take a year to 18 months to sort out. However, for the group as a whole, he still expects a return to growth in the second half and added that Sanofi is stilllooking at bolt-on acquisitions of about 1-2 billion euros.