Pharma giant Roche's Irish arm records 80% jump in profits

Company has ridden the challenges and continues to trade profitably, say directors
Pharma giant Roche's Irish arm records 80% jump in profits

Two of the company’s medicines are subject to competition from generic versions. File picture

The main Irish arm of pharma giant, Roche overcame the challenges posed by Covid-19 and continued to trade profitably during 2020.

New accounts filed by Roche Products Ltd show the company recorded an 80% increase in pre-tax profits to €8.59m in 2019.

This followed revenues increasing by 6.6% from €96.13m to €102.49m in 2019.

The company, which markets and sells Roche products here, declared a dividend of €3m during the year.

On the Covid-19 challenge faced by the company in 2020, the directors state that "this has proven to be challenging with capacity significantly reduced in Q2 2020 and access to customers much restricted.” 

However, the directors state that they are pleased to report “the company has ridden the challenges and continues to trade profitably”.

The directors state that along with other Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association members, the company saw continued delays in the reimbursement of medicines by the State.

“This situation worsened in 2019 with a number of medicines held up in the system by the failure to make funding available even though these medicines had been approved as being cost effective by the HSE”.

They state: “This impacted not only the companies but also the patients who were, therefore, denied the opportunity to be treated with new and innovative medicines which were widely available elsewhere in Europe.” 

The directors state that despite the challenges posed by bio similar competition, Covid-19 and delays in the re-reimbursement of medicines, the directors “remain cautiously optimistic for the future”. 

Two new Roche drugs, Ocrevus for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, and Tecentriq for the treatment of lung cancer, were launched in 2019.

The directors state that “both of these products performed well on the sales front as well as bringing new treatment opportunities and hope to patients.

 “Similarly, Hernlibra for the treatment of haemophilia which was launched in 2018 also performed strongly."

Two of the company’s top medicines, Herceptin and Mabthera became subject to competition from generic versions in 2017 and 2018.

The directors state: “2019 saw the first full impact of biosimilars on Herceptin. Both products were further eroded in 2019 and this significant pressure on the top line.” 

Numbers employed at the company remained static at 83 as staff costs increased from €11.3m to €13.5m. Staff costs included severance costs of €644,000.

Salaries and bonuses to directors increased from €428,000 to €631,000 in 2019 while benefits in kind for 2019 for directors totalled €139,000.

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