Biovail (NYSE:BVF) shares skidded today after the Canadian pharmaceutical company gave a sour outlook for 2004. Considering the drug maker's tough times in late 2003 -- including regulatory accounting inquiries, a freak accident, and now, slowing sales for some of its drugs -- it's no consolation to investors. It all added up to a whole truckload of bad news.

For the fourth quarter, Biovail reported a net loss of $96 million, or $0.60 per share, as compared to a loss of $102.8 million, or $0.65 per share, in the same period a year ago. Although one-time charges had a negative impact on the most recent quarter, overall sales were also 16% lower.

Meanwhile, Biovail cut its 2004 outlook to $1.35 to $1.70 per share, from its previous view for earnings of $2.00 to $2.20 per share.

Biovail blamed lower sales in part for some of its products due to competition, including pressure from generics.

Last fall, you might recall the infamous truck accident that spilled its shipment of Wellbutrin XL on the highway. Later, the stock took a dive on word that the SEC was looking into Biovail's sales practices. At the time, a Foolish commentary questioned the company's previously hot growth, wondering how much of it was for real after all.

Now, Biovail also said it is pursuing litigation with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NASDAQ:TEVA) over $98 million that it says Teva owes it. That's no fun either.

For some, Biovail's share price might look like a bargain at around $18.56 per share, about 60% lower than it was back in June, when expectations were much higher. However, it not certain that the negative news is over, giving plenty of reason to steer clear for now.

Talk to other Fools about this and other issues on the Pharmaceuticals discussion board.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.