Eli Lilly misses estimates as sales of older drugs decline

Earnings report is the first under CEO Dave Ricks

Earnings at Eil Lilly were 95 cents a share. Photograph: Reuters

Earnings at Eil Lilly were 95 cents a share. Photograph: Reuters


Pharma giant Eli Lilly reported fourth-quarter profit that missed analysts’ estimates, after sales of some of its older drugs declined.

Earnings were 95 cents a share, excluding some items, the Indianapolis-based drugmaker said in a statement. The average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg was 98 cents. Sales rose 7 per cent to $5.76 billion (€5.33bn), topping the average analyst prediction of $5.5 billion.

The earnings report is the first under chief executive officer Dave Ricks, who succeeded John Lechleiter on January 1st. As he takes leadership of a company developing a broad array of drugs for diabetes, oncology, neuroscience and immunology, he’ll have to navigate industrywide criticism of escalating drug prices from the public and Washington lawmakers.

President Donald Trump, who has suggested companies should bid for government business, said in January that the industry is “getting away with murder”. Mr Ricks and other members of the drug industry’s lobbying organisation Phrma are scheduled to meet with Trump on Tuesday.

New product search

Lilly is looking for new products to boost sales as it faces pricing pressure on Humalog, the form of insulin that is its best-selling product. The company has said it will have introduced 20 new products between 2014 and the end of 2023. This month, it agreed to pay $960 million for CoLucid Pharmaceuticals Inc, to add to its pipeline of treatments for migraine. The company reiterated 2017 forecasts it gave in December.

Lilly expects revenue of $21.8 billion-$22.3 billion next year, and earnings excluding one-time items of $4.05-$4.15 a share.