AstraZeneca sees fall in 2016 earnings as Crestor loss weighs

Astrazeneca expects a low- to mid-single-digit percentage decline in earnings in 2016 as the arrival of cheap generic copies of cholesterol fighter Crestor offsets growth in sales of new medicines, the British-based drugmaker said on Thursday.

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Revenue in the fourth quarter of last year fell 5 percent to $6.40 billion, hit by earlier drug patent expiries, generating core earnings per share, which exclude certain items, up 26 percent at 94 cents.

Industry analysts had on average forecast quarterly sales of $6.29 billion and earnings of 95 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters.

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