Lilly's Results Run the Gamut

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Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY  ) offered a range of earnings numbers for its third-quarter results. Reported earnings came in at a loss of $0.43 per share, but adjusted earnings per share were up 14% to $1.04.

The discrepancy comes from the nearly $1.5 billion charge it had to take to settle improper marketing allegations for its antipsychotic Zyprexa. Other than that, Eli Lilly had a very fine quarter.

Sales were up 14% year over year. Sales of antidepressant and fibromyalgia treatment Cymbalta, Eli Lilly's second-biggest seller behind Zyprexa, jumped 40%. Compare that with other drugs that treat depression -- year over year, sales of GlaxoSmithKline's (NYSE: GSK  ) Paxil sank 23%, Wyeth's (NYSE: WYE  ) Effexor climbed just 3%, and Forest Labs' (NYSE: FRX  ) Lexapro were up a bit more than 4% -- and you can see why Eli Lilly should be happy.

To continue that success, Eli Lilly needs to win marketing approval for its blood clot preventer prasugrel. In June, the Food and Drug Administration pushed back its decision to the end of September, but there's still no decision from the agency, and management wasn't exactly sure when a decision would be made.

More long-term growth will need to come from the pipeline of recent acquisition ImClone Systems (Nasdaq: IMCL  ) . I still contend that it was a really risky move to outbid Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY  ) for the company, but Eli Lilly's management seems to think the move will pay off if it can get just one additional drug on the market. Then again, with so many of its drugs coming off patent in the next decade, Eli Lilly had to do something.

I think we can expect more mixed news from Eli Lilly in the future. As it moves drugs through its pipeline, expect substantial growth, followed by patent expirations and slumping sales. Hopefully, the stock price won't be on too much of a roller coaster.

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Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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  • Report this Comment On October 24, 2008, at 5:51 PM, DannyHaszard wrote:

    $1.4 billion charge ?

    Wait a minute....isn't this rehashed 2 year old PR? Did not Lilly 'charge' this Zyprexa debt back then too?

    Notice,where is da money going as a whole lotta claimants haven't been paid yet?

    Something fishy going on here,Daniel Haszard

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