Bayer says it is looking into established drugs strategy

Credit: REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Bayer is looking into future options for its established drugs business, partly because of price pressure in China, the German company's head of pharmaceuticals said on Thursday.

FRANKFURT, April 25 (Reuters) - Bayer BAYGn.DE is looking into future options for its established drugs business, partly because of price pressure in China, the German company's head of pharmaceuticals said on Thursday.

"We're looking strategically, obviously, what to do with our more established products business in the long haul," divisional head Stefan Oelrich, who joined Bayer in November last year, told analysts in a conference call.

While sales of Bayer's best-selling heart drug Xarelto broadly doubled in China in the first quarter, some older products were struggling, he said.

"There's also going to be some headwinds that are going to come in our direction with the value-based pricing model the Chinese government is launching," he said, referring to reimbursement models that depend on treatment success.

The established product strategy was "top-of-mind for us, not just for China but also for other regions," he added, without specifying the brands.

Prescription drugs that have seen revenue shrink in the first quarter include the Kogenate family of haemophilia drugs, multiple sclerosis drug Betaseron or hypertension treatment Adalat.

Bayer shares are under pressure from U.S. litigation over an alleged carcinogenic effect of its weedkiller glyphosate, while analysts have said the company needs to strengthen its drug development pipeline.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; editing by David Evans)

((ludwig.burger@thomsonreuters.com; +49 69 7565 1311; Reuters Messaging: ludwig.burger.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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