UPJOHN's STRONG MOTRIN AND CNS PRODUCT SALES SPUR SALES AND EARNINGS GROWTH IN THIRD QUARTER; WARNER-LAMBERT's LOPID VOLUME UP SHARPLY
Continued strength in the Motrin brand Rx ibuprofen franchise and increases in volume for other major Upjohn brands helped push the firm's third quarter human health care sales ahead 21% ($83 mil.), Upjohn said in reporting operating results for the period ended Sept. 30. The company said that "sales of Motrin, the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory and analgesic agent, were up strongly from a year ago." Upjohn added that the "central nervous system disorders agents Xanax and Halcion continued to register excellent performances." Chairman R. T. Parfet noted that while Xanax "is our largest selling product in the U.S., Halcion this quarter became our largest selling product in foreign markets." Commenting on the performance of other products, Upjohn said that "Micronase, the oral antidiabetes agent, led all the company's major pharmaceutical products in rate of sales growth. The antibiotic Cleocin Phosphate maintained its pattern of steady sales increases, recording particularly strong foreign sales. Steroids enjoyed excellent sales growth, particularly in Japan and France." Overall corporate volume in the third quarter increased 18.2%, from $474.7 mil. in the same period last year to $561.2 mil. Net earnings, aided by the sale of the firm's diagnostics business, jumped 32% compared to last year's third quarter, to $60.6 mil. from $45.7 mil. For the nine months, the firms sales were up 13.3% compared to a year ago, to $1.7 bil. from $1.4 bil., and net earnings increased 23.2% to $188.3 mil. from $152.9 mil. Merck's third quarter net income jumped 27.1% to $173 mil. from $136.1 mil. in the same period a year ago, while volume was up 23.1% to $1 bil. from $855.8 mil. in the comparable period last year. For the nine months, Merck's earnings were up 24.3% to $504 mil. compared to $405.5 mil. a year ago, while sales of $3 bil. were up 15.1% from $2.6 bil. in the same period in 1985. Commenting on the firm's operating results, Merck Chairman Roy Vagelos, MD, noted that human and animal health care products results "reflected the rapid acceptance of Vasotec, Merck's angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor for reducing high blood pressure, which in 1986 was introduced in the United States in January and in Japan in July." Vagelos said that nine month results also were aided by unit volume gains from other new products, including Primaxin, the broad spectrum antibiotic introduced last December; the oral antibacterial Noroxin, marketed abroad which "Merck believes will be approved for U.S. introduction this year"; Tonocard, the anti-arrhythmic agent; and the firm's hepatitis B vaccine products Heptavax and Recombivax HB, the recombinant form of the product. Warner-Lambert's third quarter net income increased 10.5% to $67.3 mil. from $61 mil. in the same period in 1985, while sales, reflecting the divestiture earlier this year of health technologies operations, were off 5.6% to $782.1 mil. from $828.9 mil. in the third quarter last year. The firm noted that sales in the third quarter were up 9% excluding the divested business. The firm noted that in the U.S., sales of the lipid lowering agent Lopid were up 52% in the first nine months of the year compared to 1985. U.S. sales were also aided, the firm said, by Benadryl anti-allergy medication, "which has continued to grow since it was transferred from prescription to over-the-counter sale in last year's second quarter. Benadryl sales in the third quarter were 74% higher than last year's third quarter." Pfizer's worldwide pharmaceutical sales in the third quarter were up 13%, contributing to a 14.8% increase in corporate sales to $1.16 bil. "Feldene, Procardia, Cefobid, and Glucotrol registered continued strong sales gains," the company said. Pfizer added that "ongoing major sales gains of Glucotrol . . . again offset the sales decline in Diabinese in the quarter, enabling accelerating sales growth in the antidiabetic category." Diabinese (chlorpropamide) has faced generic competition since it went off patent in October 1984. Pfizer said its "strongest performers" during the third quarter ended Sept. 30 were its worldwide hospital product and consumer product divisions with sales gains of 30% and 17%, respectively. The company's sales gains earned $176.6 mil., up 13.6% from the same period last year. For the nine months, Pfizer sales were up 11.7% to over $3.3 bil. Through the first three quarters, the company has turned in a 13.9% gain in net earnings, from $440.4 mil. in 1985 to $501.6 mil. in 1986. Chart omitted.
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