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Eli Lilly's Profit Slides on Loss of Cymbalta Exclusivity

The patent cliff continues to punish global pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY  ) , with the company losing patent protection on depression and fibromyalgia drug Cymbalta in December, and with osteoporosis drug Evista set to lose its exclusivity in March of this year.

With these patent losses in mind, Eli Lilly reported its fourth-quarter earnings results before the opening bell today, and, not surprisingly, delivered noticeable declines in sales and profits.

For the quarter, Eli Lilly saw revenue decrease 2% worldwide to $5.81 billion, while adjusted net income sank 16% to $796.9 million from the year-ago period and adjusted earnings per share dipped 13% to $0.74.

Looking at the big picture, Eli Lilly saw product volume decline 5% and was hit negatively by foreign currency translation by 2%. It was able to partially counter these declines with a 4% favorable impact from raising prices on key products.

Individually, the telltale story was the 38% drop in Cymbalta sales to $883.2 million from $1.42 billion in the year-ago quarter. Historically, generic competition often eats away a majority (90%-plus) of a brand-name drug's revenue within the first three years, and Cymbalta delivered nearly $5.1 billion in sales in 2013.

There were a few notable bright spots, however, with rapidly acting insulin Humalog seeing sales increase 19% to $733.9 million, helped by higher prices and a 31% increase in U.S. sales, and erectile dysfunction drug Cialis delivering 15% revenue growth to $588.3 million. In fact, with the exception of Zyprexa and Cymbalta, all of Eli Lilly's other products delivered improved sales.

However, the loss of Cymbalta and Evista exclusivity is going to hit Eli Lilly hard, with the company forecasting 2014 revenue of $19.2 billion-$19.8 billion, approximately a 16% decline at the midpoint from its fiscal 2013 full-year revenue, on adjusted EPS of $2.77-$2.85, representing a 31%-33% year-over-year decline. 


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Sean Williams

A Fool since 2010, and a graduate from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Economics, Sean specializes in the healthcare sector and in investment planning topics. You'll usually find him writing about Obamacare, marijuana, developing drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices, Social Security, taxes, or any number of other macroeconomic issues.

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8/31/2015 4:03 PM
LLY $82.35 Down -0.84 -1.01%
Eli Lilly & Co. CAPS Rating: ****