×

Roche remains 'committed' to US despite Trump's crackdown on drug prices

Roche remains committed to the U.S. despite President Donald Trump's pledges to crackdown on pharmaceutical companies "getting away with murder."

The chief executive of the global pharmaceutical firm, Severin Schwan, told CNBC Wednesday that he remains bullish on the U.S., having invested "literally billions" into its research and development sites in the country.

The U.S. market currently accounts for 40 percent of Roche's sales. Just yesterday, President Trump met with leading drug makers in the White House and vowed to push down the price of medication.

"We focus on truly differentiated medicines – medicines which make a real difference for patients – I have no doubt whatsoever that there will be continued demand for such solutions and particularly the U.S., I'm convinced, will reward this kind of innovation," Schwan said.




Schwan's comments comes as the company reported its annual results today. Full-year core net income rose 7 percent at constant exchange rates, just shy of analyst expectations, as the company continued to launch new drugs it hopes will offset looming patent expirations on older medicines.

Core net income rose to 12.7 billion Swiss francs ($12.82 billion), Roche said, compared to the average 12.8 billion franc estimate by analysts in a Reuters poll. Sales rose to 50.6 billion versus 50.7 billion francs in the poll.

The world's biggest maker of cancer drugs proposed raising its dividend to 8.20 francs per share, below the 8.45 franc average estimate in the poll.

Roche said sales of its Tecentriq cancer immunotherapy totaled 157 million francs for the year, just off the analyst estimate of 162 million francs but an acceleration after the drug's approval for non-small cell lung cancer in October.

The firm launched four new medicines last year and has two new products planned for this year.

Overnight rumors have emerged about the potential sale of Roche's U.S. diabetes business. Schwan said the environment was challenging, with declining sales, but the firm remains "committed" to the segment and seeks to find a "new equilibrium" to achieve future growth.

—Reuters contributed to this report.