Pradaxa sales give Boehringer a lift

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Buoyed by sales of its anticoagulant drug dabigatran (Pradaxa), Boehringer Ingelheim recorded a 6.2 percent increase in net sales for the fiscal year 2011, the pharmaceutical company reported.

Net sales totaled EUR13.2 billion ($17.4 billion U.S.), up from EUR12.6 billion ($16.6 billion U.S.) in the previous fiscal year. Operating income rose to EUR 2.3 billion ($3 billion U.S.).

The Ingelheim, Germany-based drugmaker attributed much of that increase to sales of its prescription medicines business, which accounted for 77 percent of total net sales. The market introduction of the dabigatran added nets sales of EUR629 million ($829 million U.S.) in 2011.

“The launch of Pradaxa is among the most successful market introductions in the pharmaceutical industry in the past few years,” said Hubertus von Baumbach, a member of the board of managing directors, in a statement.

On March 28, the U.K.’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence approved the use of the dabigatran, a direct thrombin inhibitor, for the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. Boehringer Ingelheim responded by announcing it would reduce the cost of the drug by 13 percent, beginning on April 1. The European Medicines Agency gave dabigatran thumbs up in April 2011, and it was approved in the U.S. by the FDA in October 2010, with Canada soon following suit.  

Besides the 8.2 percent uptick in its prescription medicines group, Boehringer Ingelheim reported growth in its consumer healthcare, animal health and industrial customer businesses. The return on sales grew from 15.1 percent to 17.3 percent.

Net sales in the Americas region reached EUR6.1 billion ($8 billion U.S.) for a 6.3 percent increase compared to the previous fiscal year. The region is a key market, accounting for 46 percent of group net sales.

Boehringer Ingelheim added that it also expanded its work force by 1,800 staff worldwide in 2011 for a total of more than 44,000 employees.