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Nycomed hurt by falling contrast prices

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Norwegian pharmaceutical developer Nycomed continues to be plagued by lower x-ray contrast media prices. The Oslo company this month released first-quarter financial results that showed lower revenues and net income for the period.For the quarter,

Norwegian pharmaceutical developer Nycomed continues to be plagued by lower x-ray contrast media prices. The Oslo company this month released first-quarter financial results that showed lower revenues and net income for the period.

For the quarter, Nycomed had operating revenues of $257.4 million (1.84 billion Norwegian krone), a drop of 7% compared with revenues of $277.4 million in the first quarter of 1996. Nycomed's net income was $25 million, compared with $37 million in the same period last year.

Nycomed said the major factor behind the revenue shortfall was the fact that x-ray contrast media prices in the U.S. were 30% lower in the first quarter of 1997 compared with the first quarter of 1996. Prices, which began dropping early last year, stabilized toward the end of 1996, and remained relatively unchanged in the first quarter of 1997. Additional pressure could be looming, however, as two group purchasing organizations in the U.S. are expected to renegotiate their supply agreements for contrast in the second half of this year.

Nycomed also reported that sales of its Omniscan MRI contrast agent declined in both volume and value in the U.S. compared with the first quarter of 1996, while price pressure also hit the MRI contrast market. Omniscan sales outside the U.S. grew 30%, however.

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