Bristol profits leap on Plavix sales

Bristol-Myers Squibb's third-quarter results show what one big drug can do. Net income more than doubled to $858 million on revenues of $5.1 billion--and Plavix was the biggest reason. Third quarter last year, generic Plavix hit the market, sending sales of the clot-fighting drug into a downward spiral. Bristol's results sagged, too.

But in June, the company won a patent fight over the drug, now protected through 2011. Meanwhile, stocks of the generic form have run low, forcing patients back to the brand-name product. So Plavix sales almost doubled to $1.25 billion during the quarter.

Sales of other Bristol drugs grew, too. Abilify revenues jumped 34 percent, for instance. But it was Plavix that made the difference--and while it may bode well for Bristol in the short term, it quantifies just how much trouble Big Pharma faces from generic competition as its major patents expire.

- see the financial results from Bristol-Myers
- read the report for more

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Better times ahead for BMS? Report
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