As Baxter net income rises, CEO warns of heparin scandal effects

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Baxter International has reported solid financial results for the first quarter of 2008, and raised its financial outlook for the full year.

For the first quarter, Baxter reported net income of $429 million, a 6.5 percent increase compared to $403 million in the first quarter of 2007. The results include an after-tax charge of $45 million for additional costs associated with the company’s Colleague infusion pump remediation program due to an expected delay in recommercialization in the U.S.

Baxter said its worldwide sales totaled $2.9 billion in the first quarter, an increase of 8 percent (or 2 percent excluding the impact of foreign exchange), excluding revenues from Transfusion Therapies, a business the company divested in the first quarter of 2007, Baxter reported its global sales increased 10 percent (or 4 percent excluding foreign exchange) versus the prior year.

Despite the positive first quarter results, Baxter’s Chairman and Chief Executive Bob Parkinson said that the scandal involving Heparin, its recalled blood thinner, has damaged Baxter's reputation internationally and said the 47,000 employees around the world need to learn from the experience, according to the Chicago Tribune.

In a speech to employees on April 25, the company's top executive said that unlike rivals that make pills and tablets or even lifestyle drugs, Parkinson said Baxter provides more than six million injections or infusions a day to patients “far and away more than any other company in the world,” reported the Tribune. He added, “every product we the difference between life and death.”

For the first fiscal quarter, medication delivery sales grew 8 percent in the quarter to $1.1 billion, with global sales of intravenous and nutritional therapies, and significant growth in international sales of anesthesia products and injectable drugs, according to Deerfield, Ill.-based Baxter.
The company also said its investment in research and development of $190 million increased 19 percent in the first quarter as the company continues to advance its product pipeline across its business portfolio.