Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has posted a reasonable set of financials, boosted by sales of its multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone, but observers are a bit concerned by a decline in its generic sales in the USA in the first quarter.

Net income climbed 7% to $771 million, while sales increased 12% to $4.10 billion. However, turnover fell 11% in North America to $2.06 billion, and particularly sank in the USA (-32% to $952 million). The Israeli drugmaker noted that the latter decline is due mainly to the fact that the first quarter of 2010 "benefited from new launches, product exclusivities and sales of key products".

Those included generic equivalents of Boehringer Ingelheim's Mirapex (pramipexole) for Parkinson’s disease, Sanofi’s colorectal cancer drug Eloxatin (oxaliplatin), Pfizer/Nycomed’s gastrointestinal drug Protonix (pantoprazole), Shire’s Adderall XR (amphetamine salts) for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Novartis’ blood-pressure-lowering treatment Lotrel (almodipine/benazepril)". However, there were no significant launches in the current quarter.

In Europe, sales hit $1.34 billion, representing a leap of 66% and attributable to an increase in generic sales in Germany, France, Spain, Italy. Ratiopharm, bought last year for 3.63 billion euros, drove growth in  the Old Continent.

The Israeli company’s branded business was again dominated by Copaxone (glatiramer acetate). The treatment brought in $907 million, an increase of 14%. Sales of Azilect (rasagiline) for Parkinson’s disease reached $90 million, up 16%, while global respiratory revenues were up 19% at $229 million. Teva's women's health business had turnover of $103 million, up 30%. Active pharmaceutical ingredient sales to third parties totalled $184 million, a rise of 32% on the like, year-earlier period.

Chief executive Shlomo Yanai said that the results provide "a good demonstration of the power of our balanced business model", with the strong contribution from Europe business being boosted by "high-growth generics markets in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia enabled us to deliver another quarter of double-digit growth".

He claimed that "we continue to make progress in executing our long-term strategy of building an even stronger and more diversified business", citing the recently-agreed over-the-counter treatments joint venture with Procter & Gamble and the proposed  $6.8 billion takeover of Cephalon.