Eli Lilly Stares Down Barrel of Patent Expirations and Generic Competition

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Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY) is feeling the pressure of generic competition and has predicted a drop in profit for 2014. The company also reduced its sales outlook for the year in the wake of a generic competitor to its antidepressant drug Cymbalta, as well as another that threatens its ostereoporosis medicine, Evista, reports Bloomberg.

The Food and Drug Adminitration approved a generic version of Cymbalta, which is chemically known as duloxetine, in December. Previously, the drug was the pharmaceutical company’s top-selling product, according to Reuters. In general, once there are many generic versions available on the market, the originally branded version of the drug loses 80 percent of its sales in the first year.

Cymbalta generated $4.99 billion in sales in 2012; the drug’s forecast sales for 2014, in contrast, are expected to dwindle to about $1.43 billion. Similarly, revenue generated by Evista is expected to drop from approximately $997.1 million in 2013 to $498.6 million over the course of 2014.

Eli Lilly, which is based in Indianapolis, predicts its profits for 2014 to be between $19.2 billion and $19.6 billion, while it estimates that profit will be between $2.77 per share and $2.85 per share. Analysts, meanwhile, forecast sales closer to $19.6 billion and profit of $2.78 per share, Bloomberg reports.

The company first started to become concerned in October, when it said meeting its projection of $20 billion in sales for 2014 would be a challenge. Chief Financial Officer Derica Rice said in a statement to Bloomberg, ”We expect 2014 to be the most financially challenging year in Lilly’s current period of patent expirations.”

Fortunately, Lilly is planning on bringing new drugs to market within the next year, which it believes will increase sales. Currently, five Lilly drugs are being reviewed by the regulators, while eight more are in the final stages of testing before they’ll be ready for U.S. approval.

Shares of Eli Lilly have increased by 1 percent in the past 12 months, in comparison with an increase of 36 percent in Standard & Poor’s Pharmaceutical Index. Lilly stock traded at $51.54 on MOnday on the New York Exchange, per Bloomberg.

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