REBOUNDING MOTRIN SALES CONTRIBUTE TO UPJOHN SALES GAIN, EARNINGS BOOSTED BY CURRENCY EXCHANGE, LOWER TAX RATE; MERCK, PFIZER PROFITS RISE ON FLAT SALES
A revival from Upjohn's Motrin franchise contributed to the firm's 7.6% sales gain during the second quarter to $543.3 mil., the company indicated in its preliminary second quarter and first half financial report. Sales of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agent Motrin "were up strongly from a year ago," Upjohn noted. "Special promotions and the introduction of an 800 mg dosage form contributed to the sales increase for Motrin." Boosted by the sales gain and improved foreign currency exchange rates, Upjohn's second quarter net earnings jumped 8.4% to $52.2 mil. The firm also showed a one-time gain of $1.8 mil. from discontinued operations. For the second quarter, Upjohn reported a $4 mil. pretax currency exchange gain, which compares with a $4 mil. loss due to unfavorable currency exchange rates in the second quarter of 1984. In addition, Upjohn's bottom line also received a modest benefit from a decrease in the firm's effective tax rate from 33.4% to 32.5%. Sales of Upjohn's human health care products increased $8 mil., or 2%, to approximately $400 mil., the firm indicated. "The central nervous disorders agents Xanax and Halcion continued to register excellent performances," Upjohn said. "Micronase, the oral antidiabetes agent, also experienced strong sales growth but failed to offset a decline in sales of Tolinase," which is now facing generic competition. Upjohn added that its antibiotic Cleocin "maintained its pattern of steady sales increases, primarily because of a strong showing in Japan." Pfizer's U.S. Sales Performance Held Back By Generic Competition To Diabinese -- Firm Reports Pfizer Chairman and CEO Edmund Pratt noted that "ongoing strength in Pfizer's major domestic pharmaceutical products was offset in the second quarter by aggressive generic competition among first generation oral antidiabetics, as well as a decline in overseas results due to the strong dollar." The Pfizer exec added that during the second quarter the firm's second generation oral antidiabetic agent, Glucotrol, "continued to show strong sales growth." Pratt predicted that "this product will strengthen our leading position in this market" based on Diabinese. In addition, Pratt said "internatl. sales of Feldene and Cefobid showed favorable growth on a local currency basis." Pfizer reported a second quarter sales gain of 1.2% to just over $1 bil. accompanied by a 15.6% increase in net earnings to $137.5 mil. Six month sales are up 2% to over $1.95 bil. with net earnings for the first half of 1985 up 15.2% to $284.9 mil. Pfizer health care sales were up 2% in the second quarter, reflecting "strong domestic sales growth of Feldene, Procardia, Minipress, Cefobid, and Glucotrol, as well as a 9% increase in worldwide sales of hospital products, excluding sales of the divested dental business," the firm said. Pfizer's improved earnings were due, in part, to a 6% decline in cost of goods during the second quarter and a decrease in the company's effective tax rate from 37.8% to 35%. Merck's sales during the second quarter were off 1.6% to $877.4 mil., while net earnings climbed 5% to $137.9 mil. "sales for the quarter and the first half were affected by the previously announced divestment in the second quarter of two subsidiaries, Calgon Carbon Corp. and Baltimore Aircoil, and by the continuing strength of the U.S. dollar," Merck's new president Roy Vagelos, MD, noted. Vagelos said that unit gains during the quarter were "led by the new products of the company's research including the [veterinary anti-parasitic] ivermectin. . . and enalapril, an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor recently introduced in several European countries for treatment of high blood pressure and congestive heart failure." Vagelos said that Tonocard "also made good sales progress." In addition, the firm noted that its injectable antibiotic Primaxin was introduced in Germany during the second quarter. Also reporting second quarter financials, Lilly announced a 4.5% sales gain to $756.8 mil. with net income slipping 3.4% to $110 mil. Lilly noted that the unfavorable earnings comparison is due to a one-time reduction in product liability expense during the second quarter of 1984, that resulted in a 12% profit gain. Lilly cited Humulin and its oral antibiotics, in particular Ceclor, for the firm's quarterly volume gain. Chart omitted.
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