Roche posts 2018 sales beat with strong growth from its new medicines

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Its diagnostics division saw revenue grow 7 percent during 2018 with its pharma unit growing by the same amount. It stated that key growth drivers were the new multiple sclerosis medicine Ocrevus and cancer medicines Perjeta, Tecentriq, Alecensa as well as the new haemophilia medicine Hemlibra.

Schwan said new medicines accounted for 90 percent of the firm’s sales growth in 2018 and called the Ocrevus launch the “most successful” in the history of Roche.

The U.S., which has seen a greater scrutiny on drug pricing in recent years, is a key market for the pharma side of Roche. Schwan told CNBC’s Julianna Tatelbaum that for that market “it’s all about the value you provide patients.”

“And with our research-driven, innovation-driven strategy I think we are well positioned because we can bring this real benefit to patients. And my experience is, in particular in the U.S., the society is also prepared to reward this kind of innovation. So I am confident that the United States will remain a very attractive market,” he said.

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