AstraZeneca cholesterol drug Crestor drove the company’s third-quarter financials forward as generic competition significantly affected other medications.

Although revenues fell 2% to approximately $8.2bn, Crestor reported a sales increase of 14% to $1.66bn, with US sales rising 20% and total prescriptions up 3%.

The company also benefitted from strong performances from the antipsychotic Seroquel and Seroquel XR, with sales rising 4% and 24% respectively.

AstraZeneca’s oncology portfolio fell significantly, however, with a number of patent expiries impacting on drug performance. Arimidex sales fell 44% to $176m, whereas Casodex declined by 9%.

AstraZeneca chief executive David Brennan said: "We have delivered a third-quarter revenue and core earnings performance in line with our expectations, against the backdrop of anticipated generic competition and government price interventions."