UPJOHN RIDES FOREIGN GROWTH, PRICE INCREASES AND TAX SAVINGS TO FIRST QUARTER GAINS: Rx MAJORS GET HELP FROM OVERSEAS SALES AND FAVORABLE EXCHANGE RATES
Upjohn sales outside of the U.S. increased 13% "as Europe led all major markets" with a 20% sales rise and a global reach helped some of the company's slowing major brands. Xanax and Halcion were boosted "slightly" by "strong growth" in the overseas markets. In Japan, exchange rates and higher volume from both Xanax and Halcion contributed to growth, the company noted. Worldwide, Upjohn prescription drug sales increased 10% in the first quarter, led by the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory Ansaid and the anti-baldness drug Rogaine, Upjohn reported in an interim report April 15. Corporate sales rose 10.5% to $ 799.4 mil. Earnings climbed by 15.2% to $ 133.3 mil. Of the total, overseas markets contributed 40%, or $ 317 mil. in sales, an increase of 12%. Three percent of Upjohn's corporate sales gain was attributable to exchange rate fluctuations ; 5% to price rises; and 3% from unit increases. Upjohn's bottom line was helped by a more advantageous tax position, the company noted. Savings from Sec. 936 Puerto Rico tax credits as well as a lower "proportion of foreign income taxed at relatively higher rates" had the effect of reducing the annual effective tax rate from 32.5% in the first quarter of 1990 to 27% in the quarter just ended. At Merck, the U.S. business was strong enough to keep growing apace of the overseas business despite the currency exchange advantages. The currency translations added three percentage points to non-U.S. growth; but the U.S. business maintained its position at 55% of the corporate sales -- the same as in the first quarter of 1990. The non-U.S. businesses generated sales of $ 922 mil. in the first quarter; the U.S. businesses brought in $ 1.08 bil. "Both our domestic and international operations reported solid unit volume gains," Merck said. Overall, sales climbed 16.5% to $ 2 bil; after-tax earnings rose 19.7% to $ 483.5 mil. Among a discussion of its leading pharmaceutical brands, Merck spotlighted the injectable broad spectrum antibiotic Primaxin for its sales growth both outside and inside the U.S. Sales of the product "grew significantly outside the United States, led by European markets," the company noted. Primaxin IM intramuscular was approved in late 1990 in the U.S. and Italy. Primaxin is the "second largest selling injectable antibiotic in the U.S. hospital market," Merck said, (behind Roche's Rocephin) and "its level of acceptance continues to increase." Abbott, American Home Products, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Lilly, Marion Merrell Dow, Pfizer and Schering-Plough also reaped the benefits of globalization efforts and the increasing contribution from non-U.S. markets on both sales and earnings. Some snapshots: Abbott total international sales, including direct exports from the U.S., jumped 24.1% to $ 631 mil. in the first quarter, and the company pointed to the favorable effect of "the relatively weaker U.S. dollar" as one reason for the gains. American Home Products worldwide pharmaceutical sales and operating profits rose 14% from the comparable period in 1990. U.S. prescription drug sales were up 11%, while international sales climbed 21% in part, the company noted, because of currency exchange rate changes. Bristol-Myers Squibb, in its usual terse quarterly statements, reported that pharmaceutical and medical device sales were "particularly strong" in the first quarter. U.S. corporate sales rose 9% and international sales increased 14% with favorable currency exchange fluctuations adding sales of approximately 2%. Net sales increased 11.3% to $ 2.7 bil., and earnings climbed by double-digits as well, up 20.4% to $ 492.6 mil. Lilly pharmaceutical sales increased, with the company citing Europe and Japan for "contributing significantly" to the higher revenues. Corporate sales grew 15.7% to $ 1.4 bil. and earnings rose 14% to $ 388.6 mil. Lilly said the sales increase was "primarily driven" by unit volume increases both in the U.S. and abroad. Marion Merrell Dow sales abroad got a 15% boost not only from exchange rates, but also from strong sales of the nonsedating antihistamine terfenadine (Seldane) in Japan, where the product was introduced last year; and a combined sales jump of 87% in Europe for the antibiotic Targocid, the anti-epileptic Sabril and the corticosteroid deflazacort. Overseas sales outpaced the U.S., where drug sales rose 10%. Pfizer pharmaceutical sales increased 22% and hospital product sales by 21% in the first quarter. The company noted that part of the sharp increase was due to "unusually heavy wholesale ordering patterns in the United States and Japan." The company also noted that Procardia XL and Diflucan together contributed $ 260 mil. in sales during the quarter. Cardura and Norvasc, which the company noted were still in the early stages of worldwide roll-outs, added $ 36 mil. in sales. Cardura was introduced in the U.S. in January. The Norvasc NDA is pending. Schering sales were up 17%. International drug sales were "sharply higher," led by Intron A; the nonsedating antihistamine Claritin, which is marketed in 39 countries but not yet in the U.S.; Astra's Losec, which Schering licenses in Italy and Spain; and the advanced prostate cancer drug Eulexin. Warner-Lambert results in the first quarter were paced, once again, by Lopid (gemfibrozil), which turned in a 45% sales increase to $ 111 mil. Worldwide sales of all Warner-Lambert pharmaceuticals increased 17% to $ 421 mil. Corporate revenues of $ 1.2 bil. were 10.7% higher than in the first quarter of 1990. At constant currency rates, sales would have been ahead only by 8%. Earnings also climbed by double-digits to $ 139.5 mil., a gain of 16%. Nonprescription health care products (Listerine, Halls, Rolaids et al.) accounted for $ 383 mil. in sales, an increase of 8% over the comparable period last year. Chart omitted.
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