Besides That Bristol, How Was the Show?


Let me join the masses in pointing out that Bristol-Myers Squibb's (NYS: BMY) earnings suffered because of generic competition for its top-selling drug Plavix, that it markets with Sanofi. Sales of Plavix were down 60% year over year.

Okay? Can we move on now?

The joy of drug makers, especially large ones like Bristol, is that the large revenue declines are almost always foreseeable. The drug went off patent; of course sales were going to decline.

It's Bristol's future that investors should be worried about and, for the most part, the prospects look pretty good. Excluding the declines of Plavix and Avapro/Avalide, which also saw a patent expiration in the last year, Bristol's sales increased 8%.

Cancer drugs Yervoy and Sprycel led the charge, with year-over-year increases of 71% and 26%, respectively. After a slow start, Onglyza and its related combo diabetes treatment, Kombiglyze, are picking up steam, with combined sales of $172 million, up 54% from the year ago period. That's nowhere near the level of Merck's (NYS: MRK) Januvia franchise, the drugs' most direct competition, but they're decent sales, for sure.

Bristol sells the diabetes drugs with AstraZeneca (NYS: AZN) . The addition of Amylin Pharmaceuticals' (NAS: AMLN) drugs to the mix will not only lower the marketing costs to sell the medications but, by having more diabetes drugs in the sales rep's bag, it could actually accelerate sales, because they'll have more to talk to the doctors about.

Looking forward, Bristol has Eliquis, which it will market with Pfizer (NYS: PFE) , assuming the companies can cross the t's and dot the i's to gain Food and Drug Administration approval. The blood thinner has blockbuster potential written all over it.

I think Bristol will be just fine after the media stops worrying about the sales decline of that drug. What was its name again?

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