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Japan-Update

Hisamitsu's quarterly profit seen hurting on competition from generics

But over-the-counter pain remedies doing well with tourists and abroad

TOKYO -- Japanese drugmaker Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical's group operating profit appears to have declined 13% on the year to just under 5 billion yen ($44.9 million) for the March-May quarter as anti-inflammatories and other mainstays get squeezed by generic rivals.

Sales are seen down 8% at about 35 billion yen. The Mohrus Patch anti-inflammatory pain remedy, which accounts for 40% of consolidated sales, declined in volume terms. New regulations limiting patients to 70 sheets per prescription have also taken a toll. A menopausal-symptom medicine from U.S. subsidiary Noven Pharmaceuticals did not perform well, either.

But the mainstay over-the-counter Salonpas series, which includes pain patches, gels and creams, has been quite popular among Chinese visitors to Japan. Sales are growing for new, value-added offerings that stay on the skin better and have a higher concentration of active ingredients. With Salonpas making gains in the U.S. and elsewhere, sales for the brand are seen up nearly 10%.

Hisamitsu will likely maintain its forecast for the full year ending February 2018. It sees sales improving 1% to 147 billion yen but operating profit decreasing 8% to 24.1 billion yen.

Earnings for the just-ended quarter are due out July 7.

(Nikkei)

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