* Q1 EBIT above forecast
* Raises 2017 sales, operating profit outlook
COPENHAGEN, May 3 (Reuters) - Denmark's Novo Nordisk , the world's biggest diabetes drug maker, reported forecast-beating operating profit for the first quarter and nudged up its 2017 operating profit growth outlook.
The firm, grappling with increased price pressure in its key U.S. market, posted an operating profit of 13.5 billion Danish crowns ($1.98 billion) for the January-March period, up 10 percent from a year earlier and above an average 12.0 billion crowns forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts.
"Sales were driven by our new, innovative products within diabetes and obesity care, and we are seeing the effects of our cost control initiatives," said Chief Executive Officer Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen in a statement.
The firm has initiated its first-ever broad savings initiative in a bid to offset the increasing rebates it has to offer in the United States and will work to improve relationship with pharmacy benefit managers.
The company narrowed its 2017 forecast to 0 to 3 percent sales growth and -1 to 3 percent operating profit growth from a previous forecast of sales growth of between minus 1 and plus 4 percent, and operating profit of minus 2 percent to plus 3 percent growth, both in local currencies.
Growth reported in crowns is expected to be around 1 percentage point higher than the local currency level, it said. ($1 = 6.8052 Danish crowns) (Reporting by Stine Jacobsen; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)