Coronavirus boosts sales for French pharma giant Sanofi

PARIS: French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi said Friday that its first quarter sales surged in part due to stockpiling of the painkiller Doliprane, as other companies around the world struggle during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sales of Doliprane — paracetamol which can alleviate the fever and aches associated with the virus — shot up by more than 20%, helping boost the firm’s net sales by 6.9% to nearly €9 billion.

“Covid-19 stocking in channels explains about half of company sales growth in Q1,” the company said in a statement.

The company also credited sales of Dupixent, a treatment for atopic dermatitis and asthma, which soared by nearly 130%.

Sanofi said its net income grew by 15.9% over the first three months of 2020, with “roughly half of this growth due to Covid-19 impact.”

The Paris-based pharma giant has also started collaborations to work on a coronavirus vaccine that is hoped will enter clinical trials this year, potentially making it available in the second half of 2021.

Meanwhile, it has launched two studies into whether hydroxychloroquine, a drug for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus which Sanofi sells under the brand name Plaquenil, can be an effective treatment for coronavirus patients.

More than 190,000 people have died — including almost 22,000 in France — and nearly 2,700,000 been infected since the virus emerged in China in December.