Business at Bristol-Myers Squibb
That said, fourth-quarter results weren't exactly great, either. Total sales fell by about 3% from the year-ago period, and pharmaceutical sales dropped by a like amount. Simply put, double-digit growth from a stable of drugs including Plavix, Abilify, Reyataz, and Erbitux weren't enough to outweigh losses to competition and generics -- as seen in cases like Pravachol's 18% drop. Net income, once adjusted for charges and items in both years, was also down about 23% from last year's level.
Unfortunately, things are likely to get worse before they get better. By the company's own estimation, it will lose more than another $1 billion in sales in 2006 to generic competition for drugs such as Pravachol, Taxol, and Cefzil. That's why losing out on promising diabetes-treatment drug Pargluva -- on which it once had a partnership with Merck
And, of course, there's always the risk that even more things will go wrong. Plavix is facing a patent challenge, the company is a little bit behind Merck and Novartis
Still, the dividend here is attractive, and the company is already in the process of reducing its cost base -- a move that Pfizer
For more Foolishness from the medicine cabinet:
Merck is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation, and Pfizer is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. What's your investing style? Take a look at our family of investing newsletters and treat yourself to a free 30-day trial to whatever suits you. You'll be happy you did.
Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).
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