But SmithKline reported better results than expected, with taxable profits up 15 per cent to pounds 353m in the three months to 31 March.
One analyst said: 'These are good numbers - top end of the range, very pleasing.' The City had been expecting pounds 340m- pounds 350m. The shares rose 8p to 372p.
In Italy, several drugs have been delisted, although sales of new products continued to grow. Excluding Italy, worldwide sales improved 5 per cent on last year's strong first-quarter rise of 15 per cent. The results were also affected by fewer antibiotic sales, reflecting less severe outbreaks of influenza in 1994.
Robert Bauman, chief executive, said: 'We are on target to meet our objectives for 1994.'
Sales of Tagamet, the ulcer drug which loses its US patent on 17 May, were down 3 per cent at pounds 153m. Drugs sales were strongest in the US where volume rose 11 per cent, while prices fell 1 per cent.
German sales fell 6 per cent, while France and the UK saw sales slide by 20 and 2 per cent respectively.
In Japan, sales were down 5 per cent, with a solid gain in Kytril sales offset by a decline in Tagamet.Reuse content