Diabetes industry keeps deteriorating: Sanofi and Novo announce declining sales (Q3 2017)

The diabetes treatment industry is a constantly complex business, with an ongoing price war that keeps top companies from delivering the profits they were used to until some years ago. Sanofi and Novo Nordisk, two leaders in diabetes drugs, this week have announced their Q3 results, which have showed shrinking margins and lower guidances. Lantus and Toujeo together generated €1,123m in sales – that is a 11% decrease over Q3 2016. Sanofi’s whole diabetes unit generated €1,552m, accounting for a 10% global decrease and a 20% decrease in the US only. Instead, sales from emerging markets rose 17.3% (€375m). This is due to the blockbuster Lantus losing patent protection and insurance companies and healthcare authorities urging drugmakers to cut prices. Sanofi had to lower the 2017 guidances for its diabetes division (-6%/-8%). Denmark-based Novo Nordisk yesterday presented data providing evidence of its increased leadership in the industry, with a 47% global market share and a 38% market share in the pivotal US market. The diabetes business decreased by 1% to DKr21bn over the first 9 months of 2017, although the blockbuster Victoza increased by 5% in sales. Profits in the industry decreased even more dramatically (-6%), reflecting Novo’s struggle to keep sales prices stable. Interestingly, diabetes is by far Novo’s core business, fetching 81% of its whole revenues, while it is no longer crucial to Sanofi, whose diabetes products deliver less than 10%.