Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, the world's biggest maker of generic drugs, reported a higher third-quarter net profit, boosted by higher sales of generics and its branded drugs.

 

Third-quarter net income at the Israel-based company increased to $637 million, or 77 cents per diluted share, from $525 million, or 64 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, net profit in the 2008 quarter was $599 million or 72 cents per diluted share.

Sales rose 20 percent to a record $2.84 billion but were still slightly below forecasts. Analysts had expected Teva would earn 70 cents a share on sales of $2.89 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

Global sales of Copaxone, Teva's multiple sclerosis treatment, increased 28 percent over a year earlier to $562 million. Copaxone maintained its status as the No. 1 selling MS drug in the United States and globally.