AZ: We'll pick our emerging-markets fights

Picky, picky, picky. That's what AstraZeneca says it will be as it pushes for double-digit growth in emerging markets, Reuters reports. Rather than leaping into branded generics indiscriminately, the company plans to focus on about 100 medicines in 30 markets where it can get the sort of prices that make the selling worthwhile.

"We will be very selective in branded generics," AstraZeneca's Tony Zook told reporters before an investor briefing today (as quoted by Reuters). The company just made its first branded generics deal in India, with a supply pact with Torrent Pharmaceuticals. Other deals could follow, Zook said, but then again, maybe not. The company could just expand organically--with the help of the Torrent arrangement, of course.

One way or the other, branded generics will make up some 10 percent to 15 percent of AZ's emerging markets sales by 2014, Zook said, with emerging-markets sales on the whole coming in at 25 percent of company sales, up from 13 percent now. Given that emerging markets are expected to account for some 70 percent of industry growth over the next five years, that goal may be a bit conservative.

- see the Reuters news