Foreign exchange rates and generic competition for its multiple sclerosis blockbuster Copaxone has led Teva Pharmaceutical Industries to making 2015  forecasts below analysts' expectations.

The Israeli drugmaker expects earnings per share next year (excluding one-time items) of $5.00-$5.30 on revenues of $19.0-$19.4 billion, which will be likely lower than this year’s performance. One of the problems is that compared to 2014, foreign exchange fluctuations will have a $700 million adverse impact on revenues.

However most concerning is that Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) will face two generic competitors in the USA beginning in September 2015, from Sandoz/Momenta and Mylan/Natco, while “earlier entry by generics could reduce operating income by $30-$50 million per month”. On the positive front, its three-times-per-week version of Copaxone will soon be launched in Europe.

Another problem for Teva is that its copy of AstraZeneca's asthma drug Pulmicort (budesonide) will be hit by additional generic competition in the first half of 2015, resulting in a decrease of revenues by $400- $500 million.

However Teva chief executive Erez Vigodman was upbeat, saying ”we remain committed to utilising our strong cash flow to return cash to shareholders and invest in long-term organic growth while maintaining the flexibility to engage in strategic business development opportunities”. He added that generics, where profits are expected to grow this year,  “remain at the heart of our business”,  and said Teva is looking at four specialty product approvals and five submissions in 2015.