Teva sees opportunities in Latin America, Asia

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NASDAQ: TEVA) sees chances to grow in Latin America, including such major markets as Brazil and Mexico. Eyal Desheh, Teva's CFO, said the company doesn't have the right presence in Brazil right now, and it should be able to get bigger in Mexico. He made these comments Thursday at the 2010 Citi Investment Research Global Health Care Conference.

Without going into detail about specific countries, Desheh said there are also opportunities in Asia. He also said not to discount Europe. The generics giant has made moves there this year, beating out Pfizer and Actavis in its bid for Ratiopharm.

Despite the economic crisis in Europe, Teva sees no major impact on its business. The reported price cuts are targeted at innovative products, noted Desheh. He added that the same phenomenon was seen last year in the U.S., leading to a movement away from expensive innovative products to generics.  

He also commented on the rising numbers of Form 483s, saying that the FDA is raising the bar of quality for everyone. Indeed, at least 43 drug factories have received government warnings in recent months for failing to correct manufacturing practices, a USA Today article notes. Teva received one for injectable propofol, and the article discusses the problems the company has faced with the product. Teva recalled propofol made in California after 41 patients developed post-operative fever and other symptoms the company said may indicate exposure to bacterial toxins, the article notes. And in December, the FDA issued a warning letter saying the company had not done proper bacterial testing.

Desheh said the FDA's actions have been a great wake up call for the company, and the company is working "around the clock to fix everything." He did point out, however, that the profitability of the product had been declining over the past couple of years.

Later in the day, the Wall Street Journal reported that Teva has told federal regulators that it will stop making propofol--something spokeswoman Denise Bradley confirmed in an emailed statement.

- read the USA Today article
- see the Wall Street Journal report