Econo-gloom bypasses pharma earnings

Believe it or not, it's already time for Q3 earnings announcements to begin. Next week, three Big Pharmas will step into the financial limelight: Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories, and Roche. And in each case, the results are looking brighter than they appeared to be back at the advent of 2009.

True, J&J is expected to suffer on new generic competition for blockbuster drugs Risperdal and Topamax--a specific reminder of the entire industry's biggest challenge over the next couple of years. But pandemic flu has spawned big spending on drugs and vaccines, boosting drugmakers. And pharma companies have been able to get away with some hefty price increases as well, Reuters reports. Credit Suisse analyst Catherine Arnold pegs the average price increase for major U.S. pharmas in Q3 was 8.7 percent.

The upshot: A much-expected blow to drug company revenues still hasn't come. "Our initial view was that we would see something by the third quarter," UBS analyst Gbola Amusa told Reuters' Ben Hirschler, "but it is starting to feel like that is not going to happen." 

- see the J&J story at Marketwatch
- check out the Reuters roundup