Moody's downgrades Euro-Pharma

European pharma companies aren't looking too rosy, either--at least according to Moody's. The ratings agency says the drugmakers--including heavyweights Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Aventis, AstraZeneca and Novartis--won't be as credit-worthy in the coming 18 months. The problems Moody's cites are familiar: pipelines, patent expirations and a tough U.S. regulatory environment.

And then there's pharma's penchant for biotech companies, because those deals don't tend to send much to the bottom line at first. Plus, Moody's doesn't like the fact that drugmakers have been buying back their own stock to prop up the share price.

But Moody's isn't completely dejected about pharma's prospects. The industry is still profitable, after all.

- read the Wall Street Journal Health Blog item