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Sept. 23, 2008, 6:58 a.m. EDT

AstraZeneca CEO says firm mulls branded generic buy in emerging markets

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By Elena Berton

(Adds comments, details)

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- AstraZeneca PLC /zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite AZN -1.02% will consider acquiring branded generic drugs in emerging countries as it boosts its business outside the U.S. and Europe, Chief Executive David Brennan said Tuesday.

"I do believe there are opportunities to acquire branded products on a market by market basis," Brennan told Dow Jones Newswires on the sidelines of the Economist Emerging Markets Summit in London.

AstraZeneca's plans signal a shift from its U.S. and European strategy of concentrating on high-priced patented drugs, and reflects the growing importance of emerging markets to the pharmaceuticals industry as sales in developed markets slow down.

As large pharmaceutical companies face the loss of patents covering their top-selling products and pricing pressure from health insurers and generic competitors, they have been looking at strategies to diversify their business. In July, AstraZeneca's U.K. rival GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) stepped into the branded generics sector by securing an alliance with South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd. (APN.JO), gaining access to a number of low-cost branded - but unpatented - drugs to sell in emerging markets.

But Brennan ruled out plans to step into the over-the-counter medicines business in emerging countries, unlike a number of AstraZeneca's competitors.

"If you don't have a foothold in over-the-counter medicines, it's a higher hurdle to convince yourself it's a step you should take," Brennan said.

Company Web site: www.astrazeneca.com

-Contact: 201-938-5400

/zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 54.23
-0.56 -1.02%
Volume: 5.75M
Dec. 3, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
85.59
Dividend Yield
2.53%
Market Cap
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Rev. per Employee
$362,602
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