Abbott Laboratories may have increased first-quarter profits by more than 50 percent, but those numbers came with two caveats: One, about half of the the profits leap is due to a one-time, $797 million gain on the wrap-up of a partnership with Takeda Pharmaceutical (plus other items). Two, Abbott's top-selling Humira is facing a decline in demand as newly cost-conscious patients back away from the pricey anti-inflammatory. And that doesn't bode well for the rest of 2009.
Humira sales rose by 17 percent during the quarter to $1.02 billion, which would be quite a feat had the drug not been expected to deliver 25 percent sales growth this year. Now, Abbott says it's marking down its expectations for Humira to 15 percent to 20 percent growth. According to a report from JPMorgan Chase, patients are struggling to afford the $17,000 to $25,000 cost of treatment with Humira or one of its rivals.
Meanwhile, Abbott has to deal with new generic competition for its longtime revenue-producer Depakote. The anti-seizure drug--also used to treat migraines and psychiatric troubles--saw its sales drop by 65 percent to $129 million. In all, Abbott's drugs unit posted a decline in sales of 5.7 percent to $3.64 billion.
ALSO: Despite the fact that Abbott was reportedly the mysterious 'Company X' interested in getting in on the Wyeth deal, the company isn't actively looking to make a big acquisition, CEO Miles White said on an analyst call. Report