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Executive Summary

Johnson & Johnson's worldwide pharmaceutical sales climbed 13.4% to $2.65 bil. in 1989, aided by the U.S. introduction of the "less-sedating" antihistamine Hismanal (astemizole) and the overseas success of the erythropoietin Eprex, J&J reported Feb. 6. U.S. drug sales rose 14.1% to $1.12 bil. for the year and international revenues climbed 13% to $1.54 bil., "despite the stronger dollar," J&J noted. Fourth quarter domestic drug revenues were ahead 16.7% at $286 mil.; overseas sales of $526 mil. were 14.4% higher than in the year-earlier quarter. J&J noted that international sales of the gastrointestinal motility drug Motilium, the antifungal Nizoral and the gastrointestinal prokinetic Prepulsid "continued to set the pace" for Janssen Pharmaceutica, which posted "record results." Marion Merrell Dow, reporting financial results for the first time as a merged company, said Jan. 30 that sales of its diltiazem calcium channel blocker Cardizem and Cardizem SR climbed 22% in the quarter ended Dec. 31 to $176 mil. The company attributed the growth to "continued strong penetration" by the sustained release diltiazem Cardizem SR "despite the introduction of new competitive products during the quarter." However, some figures suggest that Cardizem is losing market share to products such as Pfizer's Procardia XL sustained-release nifedipine. Other standouts highlighted by Marion Merrell Dow were the anti-ulcer drug Carafate (sucralfate), which posted an 11% sales gain compared to the year-ago quarter; the non-sedating antihistamine Seldane (terfenadine), which, the company said kept its leadership worldwide with a 13.4% quarterly revenues increase; and the cholesterol-lowering agent Lorelco (probucol), for which sales "were up slightly" in the three-month period versus a year ago. Corporate revenues for the combined company rose 53.2% to$337 mil. in the quarter and 34.7% to $574 mil. for the six months ended Dec. 31. That compares to sales of $220 mil. for Marion Labs for the same three-month period a year ago, Marion Merrell Dow noted. Earnings, however, took a big hit, larger than had been indicated earlier by the company for a special charge related to the two firms' merger. Quarterly net earnings plunged 59.3% to$22 mil., with a loss of $79 mil. for the half. The three month results included a $44 mil. special charge for the merger. "Without the special charge, and excluding Merrell Dow results, net earnings for the quarter would have increased 18% to $63 mil.," the company pointed out. For the half, the earnings reflected a pre-tax special charge of $297 mil. related to the the transaction with Dow Chemical that allowed Marion to buy Merrell Dow. Without those charges (and excluding Merrell Dow earnings), net income for the six months would have risen 22% to$123 mil. On a pro forma basis, Marion Merrell Dow sales for a full year ending Dec. 31 would have been $2.2 bil., an 11% gain from 1988. For the 12 months, combined corporate earnings would have been$397 mil., up $65 mil. Upjohn, reporting fourth quarter and year-end sales Feb. 1, said annual sales of the topical anti-baldness drug Rogaine (minoxidil) "contributed to U.S. sales growth but declined in foreign markets." Beyond that, the company has not revealed actual sales numbers for Rogaine, which increasingly appears to be less of a resounding success than predicted. Upjohn fourth quarter and year-end revenues increased 3.9% and 7.6%, respectively, to$727.9 mil. and $2.9 bil. Worldwide health care sales rose 3% and 7%, respectively.

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