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Lilly Profit Plunges As Cheaper Generics Take Toll

Lilly Profit Plunges As Cheaper Generics Take Toll

By Ransdell Pierson

Oct 23 (Reuters) - Eli Lilly and Co said its quarterly earnings plunged 58 percent, hurt by special charges and generic competition for its Cymbalta depression drug, but it affirmed its full-year profit forecast.

The U.S. drugmaker on Thursday said it had earned $501 million, or 47 cents per share, in the third quarter. That compared with $1.20 billion, or $1.11 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items such as charges of $95 million from research collaborations, Lilly earned 66 cents per share. Analysts on average expected 67 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Jefferies analyst Jeffrey Holford said earnings were held back by higher-than-expected research and development costs and sales, general and administrative expenses, but he found cialis online no prescription major surprises in the report.

Sales fell 16 percent to $4.88 billion, but topped Wall Street's expectations of $4.83 billion.

Lilly's earnings have suffered since late 2011, tadalafil 20mg when its top-selling Zyprexa schizophrenia drug began facing cheaper generics in the United States.

The pain worsened last December, when Cymbalta, then its biggest drug, went generic cialis online. And its osteoporosis treatment Evista began facing generics in March.

Cymbalta's sales fell 73 percent in the third quarter to $368 million, while Evista's tumbled 65 percent to $90 million.

Lilly, which has resisted mergers with other big drugmakers to focus on its own experimental drugs, expects new products to help earnings rebound next year.

The company, whose shares slipped 0.6 percent in midday trading, is testing treatments for cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, cholesterol and psoriasis.

buy cialis without prescription U.S. regulators recently approved Jardiance (empagliflozin) and Trulicity (dulaglutide) for type 2 diabetes and granted tentative approval for a generic cialis online form of Sanofi SA's top-selling Lantus (insulin glargine) insulin. But Lilly will not be able to introduce its biosimilar form of Lantus, called Basaglar, until it resolves patent disputes with Sanofi.

"The number of Lilly products reaching the market over the next year should set the company up for a return to growth and profit margin improvement next year," said Morningstar analyst Damien Conover. "So we're now at an inflection point."

Conover said Lilly's earnings next year should exceed the approximate 5 percent growth he expects for the industry. But he said Lilly shares were trading at 21 times expected 2015 earnings, a significant premium to most rivals, "so some of Lilly's return to growth is already priced in."

Sales of many of Lilly's biggest products rose sharply in the quarter, helping offset Cymbalta's swoon. Sales increased 8 percent to $568 million for impotence treatment Cialis and were up 15 percent at $706 million for Humalog insulin.

The company's Elanco animal health unit bolstered results, with sales jumping 10 percent to $585 million.

Lilly said it still expected 2014 earnings of $2.72 to $2.80 per share, excluding special items. That would represent a decline of as much as 35 percent from last year. (Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Chizu Nomiyama)

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