Generics expected to hit Merck, Pfizer earnings

Another day, another third-quarter financial cascade. Today, the numbers come from Cubist Pharmaceuticals and OSI Pharmaceuticals. And we get a preview of the big earnings announcements coming up from Pfizer and Merck. Here's the info:

  • Cubist beat analysts' estimates with a quarterly profit of $25.4 million, on a healthy 26 percent rise in U.S. sales. Overall revenues grew by 28 percent to $143.5 million. But that performance was shadowed by a cut in full-year sales predictions for lead drug Cubicin, a high-powered antibiotic. The company now expects sales of that drug to reach $525 million at most, rather than upwards of $540 million.

  • OSI Pharmaceuticals reported sales of its cancer drug Tarceva, which it co-markets with Roche. In a regulatory filing, the Japanese company reported $301 million in global net sales of the drug, with $118 million of that in the U.S. That's up from $279 million year-over-year, an increase of 8 percent.

  • Pfizer is expected to report lower sales for the third quarter, largely because of generic competition for top sellers Norvasc, for blood pressure, and Zyrtec, for allergies. Analysts estimate earnings per share of 48 cents on revenues of $11.43 billion, down from $11.97 billion a year ago.

  • Merck is expected to get hit by generic competition, too, but some new drugs will probably help make up the difference. Osteoporosis remedy Fosamax fell off patent recently, and that's been one of the company's biggest sellers. But the company's newer meds--such as diabetes drug Januvia--are expected to grow, helping to offset the Fosamax loss.

Keep your ears open for more earnings numbers next week. There's plenty more where these came from.

- see the Cubicin news from Reuters
- get Reuters' take on OSI
- read the MarketWatch article