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Specialty Drug Sales Bolster Teva Pharmaceutical Industries' Q1 Results

By Keith Speights - May 9, 2016 at 1:58PM

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The Israel-based drugmaker saw a big drop in generic drug sales, but specialty drugs helped offset some of the decline.

It's been a rough year so far for many generic-drug makers. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA -0.13%) is no exception. Shares of the Israel-based pharmaceutical company were down over 20% year to date prior to Teva announcing its first-quarter results before the market opened on Monday. Did those results change the story for Teva? Here are the highlights. 

Teva results: The raw numbers


Q1 2016 Actuals

Q1 2015 Actuals

Growth (YOY)


$4.81 billion

$4.98 billion


Net income from continuing operations

$570 million

$446 million


Earnings per share




Data source: Yahoo! Finance. 

What happened with Teva this quarter?
Currency fluctuations contributed significantly to Teva's lower year-over-year revenue. The company estimated that revenue would have decreased by 1% excluding the impact of the foreign exchange volatility.

Lower generic drug sales also made a big dent in the company's revenue comparisons. Teva's generic drug revenue fell 17% year over year to $2.2 billion. Loss of exclusivity for the company's generic versions of Nexium and Pulmicort made a huge impact, causing a decline in sales of $427 million.

The good news for Teva, though, came from its specialty drug business. Specialty drug revenue for the first quarter was $2.2 billion, a 10% jump over the prior-year period. Sales for Teva's biggest moneymaker, Copaxone, increased 9% compared to the first quarter of 2015 to just over $1 billion. The company's respiratory drugs, ProAir and QVAR, both experienced impressive year-over-year sales growth of 40% and 37%, respectively.

What management had to say
Teva's president and CEO, Erez Vigodman, expressed optimism about the company's results. Vigodman said:

We start 2016 with solid performance across the business, strong financial results, and the achievement of several key milestones. Generics remains a core contributor to our performance despite no major launches in the U.S. this quarter, as we had in the first quarter 2015, with continuous operational and financial improvement across the business. We finalized our acquisition of Rimsa and completed the business venture in Japan with Takeda. We continue to make important progress in our specialty business where we see great promise.

Looking forward
Teva expects revenue for the second quarter of 2016 to come in between $4.7 billion and $4.9 billion. Non-GAAP earnings per share for the second quarter are projected to be between $1.16 and $1.20. It's important to note, however, that while Teva's second-quarter guidance includes the impact of the Rimsa acquisition, the numbers don't reflect the pending buyout of Actavis Generics from Allergan (AGN)

The deal with Allergan holds the potential to transform Teva. Gaining access to Allergan's current generics lineup and pipeline would help Teva reduce its dependence on Copaxone. In addition, the acquisition would give Teva more economies of scale to compete in the low-margin generic-drug industry.

Teva won European approval for the Allergan deal in March. That approval did come at a price, though. Teva will have to divest some of Allergan's generic drugs in some countries while divesting some of its own generics in other countries. U.S. regulators haven't yet approved the acquisition, but Teva expects that will happen in time for the deal to close in June 2016. If all goes well with the buyout of Actavis Generics, Teva will soon look like a different company.

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