Sanofi-Aventis 2nd quarter earnings drop

PARIS (AP) — Sanofi-Aventis SA says its earnings slumped 41 percent in the second quarter compared with a year earlier as growing competition from generic alternatives ate into sales of its more expensive drugs and offset gains from the recent acquisition of U.S. biotechnology firm Genzyme.

Net profit fell to (euro) 1 billion ($1.44 billion) in the second quarter from (euro) 1.7 billion a year earlier. Sales of its anti-clotting drug Lovenox and breast and prostate cancer drug Taxotere fell sharply due to generic competition in the U.S.

Analysts estimate that between now and 2016, blockbuster drugs with about $255 billion in global annual sales are set to go off patent, decimating sales of brand-name drugs and slashing the cost to patients and American companies that provide health insurance benefits.

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