Swiss drugmaker Novartis enjoyed first quarter sales that were up 18 percent and said it is confident of meeting its targets for this year.
But analysts pointed out that was in large part due to governments buying H1N1 flu vaccines which added 818 million euros in sales and so is not sustainable.
This is the first set of results under the new boss Joe Jimenez who took over in February.
He said: “We had strong H1N1 vaccine shipments which, together with the strong base, generated exceptional sales growth. This, together with very good cost control, led to operating income that was up over 40 percent versus a year ago.”
Novartis has agreed to buy a majority stake of eyecare group Alcon from Nestle for 21 billion euros and said profit was difficult to predict due to the deal.
The purchase is aimed at counteracting losses from that fact that it is now facing competition from generic versions of its best selling blood pressure drug Diovan.