But it gets worse. The drugs that used to be the big growers are actually dragging down sales.
Year Approved in U.S.
Change in Sales, YOY
Source: Company release. YOY = year over year.
If you add in Prolia, which launched in the past year, drugs that have launched in the last six years are up a solid 24% compared to the year-ago quarter. Unfortunately, sales are still low, so the older drugs drown out that stellar growth.
Prolia, for instance, managed just $10 million in sales during the quarter; that's less than 0.3% of sales. The slow start is to be expected, as osteoporosis is a tough market with lots of competitors: GlaxoSmithKline
The active ingredient in Prolia, denosumab, is up for review as a treatment to prevent bone breaks in patients with tumors that have metastasized to the bone. Considering denosumab beat its closest competitor, Novartis'
The prevention of breaks in cancer patients should boost sales substantially, but the mother lode would be in the prevention of bone metastasis in the first place. Data from a study in prostate cancer patients are expected before the end of the year.
Amgen is no longer a development-stage drugmaker, but that doesn't mean its pipeline isn't important. Considering the state of its established drugs, the new drugs may be more important than they were back when Amgen was just a youngster.
Interested in keeping track of Amgen as it launches into its next phase of growth? Click here to add it to My Watchlist, which will help you keep track of all our Foolish analysis on AMGN.
GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis are Motley Fool Global Gains choices. The Fool owns shares of GlaxoSmithKline. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.