(Adds quotes, share movement, background)
By Nikolaj Skydsgaard
COPENHAGEN, May 12 (Reuters) - Danish drugmaker Lundbeck beat first-quarter sales expectations on Tuesday and stuck to its annual forecast, helped by strong sales of drugs as patients requested longer prescriptions and stockpiled drugs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Demand has been strong, but we also recognize that we have benefited from patients gaining longer refill prescriptions as well as some stocking of products in many countries in response to the COVID-19 pandemic," Chief Executive Deborah Dunsire said in a statement.
Lundbeck, which specialises in treatments for mental disorders, joins a string of pharmaceutical companies either maintaining or raising their yearly sales outlook as lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus has led patients and pharmacies to stockpile drugs.
The Copenhagen-based company posted quarterly sales of 4.56 billion Danish crowns ($661.25 million), above an average of 4.34 billion forecast by analysts in a Refinitiv Eikon poll, and an 8% increase from the same period last year.
Shares in Lundbeck topped the Copenhagen blue chip index in early morning trade, trading up around 3%.
Lundbeck said it would maintain its full-year forecasts despite a strong first quarter, but its chief financial officer said he expected sales would be impacted by diminishing drug stockpiles in the second and third quarter.
"We most likely will (be affected), and that is why we maintain our forecast," said CFO Anders Gotzsche. ($1 = 6.8960 Danish crowns) (Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard; Editing by Kim Coghill and Louise Heavens)