Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical has managed to shrug off a hefty decline in sales of its flagship gastrointestinal drug Prevacid (lansoprazole) in overseas markets and post a modest rise in sales and net income in the first nine months of its fiscal year.

Revenues for the nine months ended December 31, 2004, came in at 871 billion yen – a 3% rise over the same period of 2003. Net income was up 4% to 246 billion yen. However, in the third quarter Takeda’s net income declined 14% to 82.4 billion yen, largely because of pressure on Prevacid.

The drug, which is sold as Takepron in Japan and as Prevacid in the US, saw its overseas sales slide 17% to 290 billion yen in the first nine months. The company cited wholesaler reductions and competition from an over-the-counter version of AstraZeneca’s Prilosec (omeprazole) started to bite in the US [[28/10/03d]], where Prevacid is marketed by TAP, a joint venture with Abbott Laboratories. Sales in the Americas fell 25%, in line with TAP’s recent reporting of a 43% decline in turnover of the drug in the important US market, although it put in small gains in Europe and Japan. Takeda said that the US situation was a temporary event and that it expects the extent of a decrease in Prevacid sales in 2005 to be moderate.

Turnover of Lupron (leuprorelin), a treatment for prostate cancer, were flat at 139 billion yen, while Actos (pioglitazone) for diabetes managed an 11% rise in turnover to 146 billion yen. The anti-hypertensive candesartan, sold as Blopress in Japan, grew 9% to 116 billion yen.