MARION MERRELL DOW CARDIZEM LINE SALES UP 15% TO $1.1 BIL. IN 1992; NICODERM CONTRIBUTES $217 MIL.; WARNER-LAMBERT LOPID SALES CLIMB 13% TO $550 MIL.
Sales of Marion Merrell Dow's Cardizem (diltiazem) family of products for treatment of angina and hypertension totaled $1.1 bil. in 1992, an increase of 15% over the previous year, as the firm pursued various strategies to counteract the effect of the Nov. 5 exclusivity expiration for immediate-release diltiazem. The introduction of a once-a-day formulation, Cardizem CD, was responsible for 25% of Cardizem family sales, contributing $260 mil., MMD reported Jan. 27. Combined Cardizem sales continued to rise during the fourth quarter, growing 10% to $307 mil. in the final three months of the year despite the onset of generic competition. MMD subsidiary Blue Ridge Labs began supplying an authorized generic version of diltiazem to Rugby Labs for marketing in October. Other generic firms with approved ANDAs include Copley, Mylan and Lederle, all of whom have been named, along with their bulk suppliers, in diltiazem process patent infringement suits filed by MMD ("The Pink Sheet" Nov. 30, 1992, T&G-7). Cardizem represented one-third of Marion Merrell Dow's 1992 consolidated sales of $3.32 bil., up 16.4% from $2.85 bil. in 1991. Fourth quarter revenues grew at a much slower rate -- ahead 3.1% to $797 mil. Nicoderm and Seldane are other products cited by the company as responsible for the sales growth. International sales were also an important contributing factor for MMD in 1992 with 29% growth to $1.1 bil. The Nicoderm transdermal patch, the second of four on the market with a December 1991 launch, reported sales of $217 mil. for the year; fourth quarter Nicoderm revenues were only $21 mil., which, MMD noted, resulted from U.S. wholesalers and retailers selling from previously accumulated inventories. The advent of the aggressively marketed patches appeared to cannibalize MMD's Nicorette nicotine gum sales, which declined 39% to to $69 mil. for the year. Worldwide sales of Seldane and Seldane-D (terfenadine) rose by 14% to $878 mil. in 1992. Sales picked up in the final three months by 3% after falling off during the third quarter when MMD was required to strengthen the warning label regarding adverse cardiovascular reactions in certain patients and in combination with certain drugs. "We have initiated education efforts to help physicians, pharmacists and patients understand these issues so that they can benefit from the use of our nonsedating products as the spring allergy season approaches," the company noted. MMD earnings grew by more than 20% for the third consecutive year, with a 21% increase to $706 mil. The company upped its R&D spending 18% to $465 mil. in 1992, or about 14% of sales. Warner-Lambert reported a 12% jump in U.S. pharmaceutical sales and a 14% increase internationally in 1992 as Rx revenues totaled $2.28 bil. In its last patent protected quarter, Lopid (gemfibrozil) continued to lead the way, contributing $550 mil. in sales, an increase of 13% from the preceding year, the company said Jan. 26. Lopid's patent expired Jan. 4; Mylan has an approved generic version. Warner-Lambert's cardiovascular drug Accupril (quinapril) passed the $100 mil. sales mark; the company did not break out sales for its nicotine patch product, Nicotrol. Consolidated worldwide sales were ahead 10% to $1.47 bil. for the fourth quarter and 11% to $5.6 bil. for the year. Net income totaled $643.7 mil. In the consumer products segment, sales growth was more pronounced in foreign markets (up 14%) than in the U.S., where sales were ahead by 4% for the year for an overall increase of 9%. Products responsible for growth included Cool Mint Listerine, introduced in 1992, Lubriderm skin care and Halls cough drops, the company said. Listerine brand sales climbed 8.6% to $332 mil. worldwide. Schering-Plough fared less well with its consumer products business as sales declined 3% for the year "compared with 1991, when sales were boosted by the over-the-counter launch of Gyne- Lotrimin for treatment of vaginal yeast infections," the company said, adding that sales of other OTC products were affected by the weak U.S. economy and "an increasingly competitive cough/cold market." Sales of sun care products (Coppertone, Water Babies) were ahead for the year, but foot care product sales were down. Despite the decline in OTC sales, Schering-Plough racked up $4.05 bil. in sales for the year with overall growth of 12.2%. In the final three months, revenues were up 15% to $994.4 mil. Like Marion Merrell Dow, Schering-Plough also cited international pharmaceutical sales as the primary factor behind the company's continued growth. Foreign Rx sales grew at a significantly faster pace -- up 27% with currency exchange and 24% without. In contrast, domestic prescription sales were ahead by just 7%. Intron A alpha interferon, Claritin non-sedating antihistamine and Eulexin for advanced prostate cancer all reported higher sales, the company said. Merck sales grew 12% in 1992, reaching $9.66 bil., the company said. For the quarter, sales were up by the same percentage to $2.6 bil. Exchange rates had no impact on fourth quarter sales, but inflated 12-month sales by 1%, the company noted. Merck cited "strong sales gains" by the antihypertensives Vasotec, Vaseretic and Prinivil; the cholesterol lowering agents Mevacor and Zocor; the anti-ulcer drugs Pepcid and Prilosec; and the antibiotic Primaxin. "Vaccine sales were also strong for the twelve months," the company said. Regarding the newly launched benign prostatic hyperplasia treatment Proscar (finasteride), Merck stated that "experience to date in the markets where the product is available is consistent with our expectations that an extensive education program, which is now under way, is required to heighten awareness of the disease, improve understanding of its natural history and communicate the benefits of treatment with Proscar, which suggest an arrest of the disease process." In January, Merck announced that it has filed for FDA approval of four new drugs. As the company had previously predicted last November, Merck filed NDAs for its novel antischizophrenic Roxiam, a once-a-day formulation of its glaucoma agent timolol (Timoptic- XE) and an OTC form of Pepcid. The company also resubmitted its PLA for the Varivax chicken pox vaccine. The new application includes clinical data employing the product manufactured at Merck's West Point, Penn. robotic manufacturing site. Merck became the latest of the major pharmaceutical companies to announce the impact of new accounting standards required for postretirement benefits and income taxes. Net income before a one- time charge of $462.4 mil. related to the new standards was up 17% to $2.45 bil. for the year. With the charge, earnings dropped 6% to $1.98 bil. For the quarter, earnings were up 15% to $609.1 mil. Excluding the charge, quarterly income climbed 17% to $618.9 mil. Chart omitted.
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