AstraZeneca posts robust growth in Covid-19 jabs sales

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The pharmaceutical producer AstraZeneca announced its sales of Covid-19 vaccines nearly trippled in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the previous three months to $894m. However the chemical firm earmarked concerns due to delayed approval for usage of the jabs in the US, Reuters reported.

The AZ vaccine has been seen as a major weapon against the pandemic because it is relatively cheaper and easier to use than some rivals. AstraZeneca, together with its Indian manufacturing partner said they have supplied 1bn doses to 170 countries so far. But the vaccine has also faced setbacks, including disputes over data, production problems, and links to rare side-effects that have led some countries to stop or restrict its use. US have been particularly critical of the vaccine.

AstraZeneca confirmed it now expected to seek US approval for the vaccine in the second half of this year. Previously, it had planned an application during the first half.

The company said the shot, developed by Oxford University, brought in $1.17bn in sales in the first six months of year, putting it among its best selling products, behind first-placed lung cancer drug Tagrisso on $2.54 billion.

The vaccine sales were based on deliveries of about 319 million doses, the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker said, giving an average price of about $3.7 per dose. Deliveries from its partner, India-based Serum Institute, were not included. AstraZeneca has said it will not make a profit from the shot during the pandemic, and costs related to the vaccine shaved a cent off second-quarter earnings per share. That's down from 3 cents in the first quarter.

AstraZeneca is still hoping for a boost from the recent purchase of rare medicines business Alexion, to add to its fast-growing cancer medicines unit and newer drugs, such as treatments for diabetes and heart conditions.

Total revenue of $8.22 billion for the three months to June, on a constant-currency basis, beat analysts' consensus forecast of $7.58 billion.

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