PHARMACY

J&J posts losses for Q4, full-year earnings

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson posted decreases in sales for fourth quarter 2010 and for the year, according to an earnings statement released Tuesday.

Sales for the quarter were $15.6 billion, a 5.5% decrease from fourth quarter 2009’s $16.5 billion. Sales for the year were $61.6 billion, down by 0.5% from $61.9 billion in 2009.

Meanwhile, profits for the quarter were $1.9 billion, a 12% decrease from $2.2 billion in fourth quarter 2009. Profits for the year were $13.3 billion, an 8.7% increase over $12.3 billion in 2009.

In the pharmaceutical segment, generic competition and other factors decreased sales for most of the company’s major products, but the HIV drug Prezista (darunavir) had sales of $401 million for the year, compared with $303 million in 2009. The new, extended-release schizophrenia drug Invega (paliperidone) had sales of $270 million, compared with $266 million in 2009. The pharmaceutical segment as a whole had sales of $12.5 billion for the year, a 4% decrease from $13 billion in 2009.

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PHARMACY

Eisai’s severe sepsis drug fails in trial

BY Alaric DeArment

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. — Eisai will not seek regulatory approval for a drug to treat severe sepsis after getting lackluster results from a late-stage clinical trial, the drug maker said Tuesday.

Eisai said a phase-3 trial of the drug eritoran found the drug did not significantly reduce mortality in patients with the condition compared with placebo.

Severe sepsis causes about 215,000 deaths in the United States every year, with a mortality rate of about 30%.

In other news, however, the company said it would file for approval of perampanel, a drug for epilepsy, following more promising results from a phase-3 trial.

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Teva receives FDA action letter for generic Lovenox

BY Allison Cerra

JERUSALEM — Teva on Tuesday confirmed its receipt of an action letter from the Food and Drug Administration for its generic blood-thinning drug.

The drug maker said the FDA sent a minor deficiency letter, which indicated the regulatory agency completed its review of the abbreviated new drug application for generic Lovenox (enoxaparin sodium) injection, as well as Teva’s responses to key questions during the review process. Prior to potential final product approval, Teva also needs to respond to questions posed by the Office of Generic Drugs, which the drug maker said it will answer in the near future.

Lovenox, designed to treat deep vein thrombosis, is made by Sanofi-Aventis.

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