The end result was flat sales. O.K., so technically, they increased a little. But what's $21 million when your sales top $5 billion?
Oh, and the company took a huge $4.7 billion charge from the acquisition of ImClone Systems. Yawn. Why do these things always seem to make it into headlines? Raise your hand if you weren't expecting the company to take a charge from the acquisition.
Seeing none raised, let's move on to more important things, like how this year is shaping up. The company is guiding for sales growth in the mid-single digits, boosted by sales of ImClone's Erbitux, which managed $750 million in sales last year.
Growth this year is also dependent on whether or not the Food and Drug Administration approves Prasugrel, its blood thinner, which will compete with Sanofi-Aventis
Another drug to keep an eye on this year is Lilly's depression drug Cymbalta, which was approved last summer to treat fibromyalgia. Worldwide sales jumped 15% in the fourth quarter, probably partly due to that approval, but it's going to have some added competition in that space now that the FDA approved Forest Laboratories
If it can hit its targets, Eli Lilly is looking for earnings of $4 to $4.25 per share this year. That would mean growth of 5% to 11% over last year's adjusted earnings. Not bad, and certainly more interesting than this quarter.