BMS sales up 8%, thanks to drugs new and old

Here's some good news about Bristol-Myers Squibb's ($BMY) third-quarter results: Plavix sales rose 8% to $1.79 billion. Here's some bad news: Plavix sales rose by 8%. The blood thinner goes off patent early next year, and so any revenue increase for it has a bittersweet tone. Luckily, however, BMS also had sales growth to report for Yervoy, its new melanoma drug: $121 million for Q3, up from $95 million last quarter and some $17 million better than analysts had expected.

That's pretty much the company's story right now. The Plavix juggernaut rolls on, churning up billions in sales, while promising products actually appear to be, well, promising. Yervoy's strong early performance has so far borne out the adrenalin-fueled expectations of its pre-approval days. And if the same proves true of similarly strong expectations for Eliquis, the anticoagulant BMS is developing with Pfizer ($PFE), then the company may withstand the loss of Plavix exclusivity better than many predicted just a couple of years ago.

The nitty-gritty for this quarter includes net sales of $5.3 billion, an 8% increase in constant currency terms, with a gross margin of 73.7% and net earnings of $969 million, or 56 cents per share. Drugs that posted strong growth--besides Plavix--included the antipsychotic Abilify (14%), the cancer treatment Sprycel (47%), and the arthritis treatment Orencia (27%).

- get the BMS announcement
- read the Reuters news
- see the Bloomberg story

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