Scrip is part of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC’s registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use. For high-quality copies or electronic reprints for distribution to colleagues or customers, please call +44 (0) 20 3377 3183

Printed By


Abbott's Q4 pharma sales weather Depakote downturn

This article was originally published in Scrip

Executive Summary

Abbott Laboratories' fourth-quarter earnings were virtually flat at $1.54 billion as its sales jumped by double digits. The healthcare firm reported net sales of $8.79 billion, an increase of 11%, with pharmaceutical contributing the lion's share of its revenues.

Total 2009 worldwide sales were $30.77 billion, an increase of 4%, while net earnings during the year rose by 18% to $5.75 billion.

The unrelenting demise of Depakote (divalproex sodium) to generic competition during 2009 has place a greater reliance on Abbott's other pharmaceutical products to drive growth. The pharma business, which generates more than half of the company's sales, has had to handle falling sales of the anti-epilepsy drug since the second quarter of 2008.

In the fourth quarter, worldwide pharmaceutical sales of $4.85 billion (+5%) were driven by double-digit sales of the rheumatoid arthritis treatment Humira (adalimumab). The product's revenues grew by more 23% to $1.66 billion, with 48% reported growth in international markets, thereby quashing the impact of Depakote's and TriCor/Trilipix's (fenofibrate/fenofibrate acid) declines.

During the fourth quarter Depakote's sales fell by 62% to $102 million, while the dyslipidaemia drugs contracted by 8% to $419 million. Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir), a HIV antiviral, remained flat at $378 million and Niaspan (extended-release niacin) grew by 15% to $254 million.

The full-year picture was less rosy for Abbott's pharma business, where its sales actually fell by 1% to $16.49 billion. The division was weighed down by an 8% drop in its US revenues to $7.79 billion, with declines across most of its pharma products, including Humira, in the US.

2009 nutritional sales were up by 7% to $5.28 billion with international sales edging above US sales. Worldwide diagnostic sales were flat at $3.58 billion and its vascular business expanded by 20% to $2.69 billion following growth of almost a third in the US.

Abbott Laboratories' Q4 and full-year 2009 selected pharmaceutical sales ($mill)



Q4 sales


% change


Full-year sales


% change






































































Diluted earnings per share (EPS) for the fourth quarter was up by 10% to 98 cents and up by 22% to $3.69 for the full year.

earnings outlook

Abbott expects full-year EPS of $4.20-4.25, excluding specified items. The midpoint of this range reflects growth of 13.5%, including the acquisition of Solvay Pharmaceuticals, which is expected to close next month.

For the fourth quarter, R&D costs edged up by 2% to $747 million, while selling, general and administrative (SG&A) costs fell by 3% to $2.23 billion. For the full year, R&D costs were $2.74 billion (+2%) and SG&A expenses were flat at $8.41 billion.

Total spending for 2009 was $24.53 billion, an increase of 3% on the year before.

You may also be interested in...

AB Science lists on Euronext after reducing offer size

AB Science has closed its IPO at just half of the value of its initial expectations. The gross proceeds of the French firm's offer were €27.5 million, compared with the €55.5 million it anticipated when it filed for the offering on 8 April. Of the total, the company secured $16.5 million from the sale of newly issued shares; the remaining €11 million went to selling shareholders.

Amgen posts strong first-quarter sales but healthcare reform set to bite

Amgen's sales rebounded in the first quarter rising 9% to $3.6 billion after a disappointing end to last year. However, the introduction of new legislation for US healthcare has weighed on its forecast for the year, as it has done for many of its competitors.

Tracleer drives growth for Actelion

Actelion's total revenues leapt up by 24% to CHF502 million ($467 million) during the first quarter due to stronger demand for its pharmaceuticals. The firm's net income rose by 30% to CHF133 million, while its diluted EPS increased from CHF0.83 in the first quarter last year to CHF1.09.


Related Companies




Ask The Analyst

Please Note: Click here for more information on the Ask the Analyst service.

Your question has been successfully sent to the email address below and we will get back as soon as possible. my@email.address.

All fields are required.

Please make sure all fields are completed.

Please make sure you have filled out all fields

Please make sure you have filled out all fields

Please enter a valid e-mail address

Please enter a valid Phone Number

Ask your question to our analysts