Note: All changes are versus the prior-year period unless otherwise stated
"We are very encouraged with the sales growth in the first three months of 2021," remarked CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, with Novo Nordisk noting that revenue increased 7% on a constant exchange rate (CER) basis.
Sales were still impacted by the effect of patients and wholesalers stocking up on drugs last year in preparation for the COVID-19 pandemic, but Novo Nordisk said inventory changes and the timing of shipments had offset that in the first quarter. "Growth was driven by all therapy areas and across geographical areas," Jørgensen noted, adding that "growth has accelerated in the US."
Novo Nordisk expects sales this year to grow between 6% and 10% on a CER basis, with both ends of the guidance lifted by 1 percentage point from a previous estimate . Meanwhile, operating profit is forecast to increase in the range of 5% to 9% at CER, with both ends of the outlook also lifted by 1 percentage point.
The company explained that the revised guidance reflects expectations for sales growth within its diabetes unit, mainly driven by the GLP-1 products Ozempic and Rybelsus, as well as growth for Saxenda.
"It's a strong start to the year," Sydbank analyst Soren Lontoft Hansen remarked.