Alcon saw its overall sales for the first quarter ended March 31 decrease by 2.8 percent to $1,493.3 million, though this was a climb of 4.8 percent in constant currencies. Its consumer eye care division fell by 7.9 percent to $193.5 million, or an 8.0 percent drop in comparable currencies. Net earnings for the whole company grew by 5.3 percent to $452.0 million.
Outside the U.S., the consumer eye care division saw organic growth of 6.4 percent to $100.7 million, but with currency fluctuations this was an 8.8 percent decrease. Revenues in the segment in the U.S. fell by 6.9 percent to $92.8 million, and Alcon noted that it had seen increased competition from a generic version of its TobraDex ophthalmic solution and lower demand for ophthalmic products. Patanol and Travatanz ophthalmic solutions boosted Japanese sales by 18.3 percent organically or an impressive 33.1 percent in dollars.
Within the consumer eye care division, contact lens disinfectants had turnover 7.2 percent lower than the first quarter last year, which translated to a 2.1 percent drop in local currencies. Sales of artificial tears fell by 1.2 percent on a reported basis to $65.0 million, but this was an 11.9 percent jump at constant currencies.
Alcon's gross profit margin increased by 2.1 percentage points to 76.2 percent, affected by varying exchange rates, favorable product mix and efficiencies in manufacturing.
Alcon reaffirmed its previous guidance for a mid-single-digit increase in sales for the full year at constant currencies.