Bristol-Myers sees uptick in Q1, bolstered by strong Plavix sales

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Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) reported strong sales and earnings growth for the first quarter of 2010. The company reported first quarter generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) net earnings from continuing operations of $743 million compared to $649 million for the same period in 2009.

BMS posted first quarter 2010 net sales of $4.8 billion, an increase of 11 percent compared with the same period in 2009. Healthcare reform had a 1 percent negative effect on net sales in the first quarter. U.S. net sales increased 11 percent to $3.1 billion in the first quarter of 2010 compared with the same period in 2009. International net sales increased 11 percent to $1.7 billion.

Research and development expenses remained flat at $910 million in the first quarter of 2010 compared with the same period in 2009, according to the company. Marketing, selling and administrative expenses remained flat at $900 million in the first quarter of 2010 compared with the prior-year quarter. Advertising and product promotion spending decreased by 15 percent to $212 million in the first quarter of 2010, compared with the same period in 2009.

For its cardiovascular drug line, clopidogrel (Plavix) sales jumped 16 percent to $1.67 billion in the 2010 first quarter over the previous comparable quarter, BMS reported. The U.S. net sales of Plavix increased 18 percent to $1.53 billion over the 2009 first quarter. The company said its hypertension drug irbesartan/ irbesartan-hydrochlorothiazide (Avapro/Avalide) rose 4 percent in its worldwide sales and 8 percent in U.S. net sales.

BMS said it expects additional negative financial impact in 2010 as other parts of the new healthcare law are implemented, including discounts to certain critical access hospitals, cancer hospitals and other covered entities as required by the expansion of the 340B Drug Pricing Program. In addition, beginning in 2011, the company will provide a 50 percent discount on its brand-name drugs to patients who fall within the Medicare Part D coverage gap, also referred to as the donut hole, and the company will pay a non-deductible annual fee to the federal government based on an allocation of its market share of branded prior year sales to certain government programs including Medicare, Medicaid, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and TriCare.

According to the company, a positive impact on net sales from the expected increase in the number of people with healthcare coverage could potentially occur in the future, but not until 2014 at the earliest.