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Pharmaceuticals

Pharma firms report positive sales growth

by Ann M. Thayer
October 31, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 43

Several major pharmaceutical companies have reported sales and earnings for the third quarter, and so far, the positive trend seen in the first half of 2016 is continuing. New product launches contributed to sales growth of between 4 and 8% at Eli Lilly & Co., GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., and Roche. For example, sales of Merck’s PD-1 cancer immunotherapy Keytruda rose 124% as the drug continued to collect approvals for treating various cancers. Meanwhile, Biogen’s sales grew 6% on the strength of its multiple sclerosis products, which will be key to the company after it spins off its hemophilia business as Bioverativ in early 2017. And although Novartis saw limited growth for its new products, they didn’t offset generics competition to its cancer drug Gleevec. Earnings for the group remained mixed. GSK, J&J, and Merck posted double-digit gains, while Lilly and Novartis reported small declines.

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