Are Short Sellers Right About Spectrum?

In this video, Motley Fool health-care analyst David Williamson discusses Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SPPI  ) , and why more than 50% of the stock's float is sold short. The company took off in 2011, when production problems with the generic drug Leucovorin gave it a chance to get doctors to switch to its more expensive branded drug, Fusilev, but sales of Fusilev have flagged lately. David tells investors whether Fusilev's days of sales growth are over, and what else Spectrum has up its sleeve that may prove the shorts wrong.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2013, at 12:09 PM, Emperor2 wrote:

    This is not a FOOLISH comment, it is just a stupid one. In Europe and Japan, where Fusilev has had generic competition for years, Fusilev still continues to sell well. If this has been the case, and it has, why would generic leucovorin decimate sales of Fusilev in the US when it hasn't anywhere else in the world. The answer is it won't. Contrary to what the short sellers would have you believe, the US isn't that radically different from the rest of the world. Also, contrary to what you said, Fusilev has not had declining volume for 3 quarters. The volume actually went up this last quarter. The sales dollars went down due to a changing mix of customers that had federally mandated lower prices.

  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2013, at 1:06 PM, vireoman wrote:

    David, did you fail to read the earnings call? As Emperor mentioned, sales *revenue* for Fusilev has been down (or essentially flat) for three straight quarters, but sales *volume* has been up. Government-mandated rebating in hospital settings is the primary reason for this, not any significant shifting from customers to the now, easily accessible generic leucovorin. To combat this, Spectrum has been targeting the 'stickier,' full-price customers to be found in clinical settings, which they have now built up to 75% of Fusilev users. Spectrum stressed in the earnings call that demand for Fusilev is "very, very, very stable." The short case will be proven wrong, but it will take another quarter or two to do it.

  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2013, at 9:56 PM, makeitstop wrote:

    I think anyone is entitled to their opinion, but as a MF health care analyst I expected that you would at least be expected to state the facts. Your information about Fusilev sales this quarter is totally inaccurate. An accurate detail of Fusileve sales can be obtained from the SPPI conference call. I guess the shorts have the help of authors unwilling to do the required research

  • Report this Comment On March 12, 2013, at 1:27 PM, FactPlz wrote:

    The "generic" has been around for 40 years. Fusilev for 2 years and has 31% market share. Why? Because it has fewer side effects and is half the dosage.

    There are 12 makers of the generic, one more won't make a difference. If you were sick, which drug would you want?

    The "dud" Zevalin has a 91% success rate after one injection for $40,000, versus the current standard that has a 53% remission rate AFTER two years of treatment every 6 weeks for $120,000.

    If your child was sick, are telling me you would make her go on chemo for two years with a 50-50 chance of living, or a ten minute office call and 91% the treatment is over.

    The new sales manager from Amgen, and the other Amgen addition have laid out a terrific sales strategy. They did not leave Amgen for a company described in this uninformed video.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2013, at 9:58 AM, bmws1 wrote:

    It's amusing to read comments after the fact of today's 40% meltdown.

  • Report this Comment On April 10, 2013, at 12:39 AM, zzlangerhans wrote:

    I agree, just came across this and had a good belly laugh. Anonymous blockheads love to attack professional analysts then vaporize when their stupidity is revealed.

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