Hannah Kuchler in New York
AbbVie beat expectations on earnings and raised its forecasts despite suffering a 28 per cent drop in international sales of Humira, its blockbuster drug for inflammatory diseases, due to competition outside the US.
The Illinois-based pharmaceutical company guided to adjusted earnings per share for the full year of between $8.73 to $8.83, from a range of $8.65 to $8.75.
Richard Gonzalez, chief executive, said the year was off to an “excellent start” and that he felt “comfortable” with the rate that biosimilars — generic competition for biologics — were moving on to Humira’s territory. He said Biogen and Amgen had been the most aggressive competitors so far in Europe.
AbbVie also celebrated the recent approval of Skyrizi, a drug for the treatment of the skin disease psoriasis, which afflicts 8m Americans. Mr Gonzalez said it represented a “significant long-term opportunity” with the potential for multibillion-dollar sales at its peak.
“Skyrizi is our 12th new product or major indication approval in the last five years demonstrating the productivity of our R&D investment,” he said.
He acknowledged that the drug might eventually eat into sales of Humira to treat psoriasis, a concern of many analysts. Humira is used to treat many other inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
AbbVie reported adjusted earnings per share of $2.14, higher than the average analyst estimate for $2.06 and up 14.4 per cent year on year. Excluding adjustments, net earnings fell 11 per cent to $2.5bn in the first quarter.
Total sales fell 1.3 per cent to $7.8bn, in line with expectations, dragged down by the fall in sales of Humira. Humira was the world’s best-selling drug last year and delivered almost two-thirds of AbbVie’s revenue in 2018.
But AbbVie now faces huge challenges from biosimilar competition, after its patent expired in Europe late last year. Rivals entering the market include Amgen, Sandoz, Biogen, Samsung Bioepis and Mylan.
In the first quarter, Humira represented 56 per cent of revenue at $4.4bn. Sales in the US continued to rise, up 7.1 per cent to $3.2bn year on year, but international sales were down 28 per cent, or 23 per cent on a constant currency basis, to $1.2bn.
Drugmakers have been under political pressure from both Republicans and Democrats in the US, as patients suffer from higher out-of-pocket costs for their prescriptions.
Mr Gonzalez said AbbVie supported the rebate reform proposal of President Donald Trump’s administration, which would allow patients to get discounts at the pharmacy, rather than distributing them throughout the supply chain.
But he criticised “Medicare-for-All” proposals floated by many Democratic presidential contenders, saying that if patients left commercial programmes for Medicare Part D, the drug programme, their costs might go up. “The way the Part D programme works right now, the co-pay out-of-pocket is going to go up dramatically and I don’t think that’s something they would necessarily like,” he said on the earnings call.
The pharmaceutical company, which benefited significantly last year from the US tax reform, continued to pay a low rate in the first quarter. AbbVie paid a tax rate of 3.5 per cent on a GAAP basis, or 7.9 per cent when adjusted.
AbbVie shares, which had fallen 11 per cent so far this year, dropped 0.9 per cent in Thursday trading to $77.96.
Hannah Kuchler 在纽约
尽管 Humira 是一种治疗炎性疾病的重磅药物，但由于美国以外的竞争，该公司的国际销售额下降了28%，但艾伯维（AbbVie）超出了预期收益，并上调了预期。
该公司首席执行官理查德•冈萨雷斯( Richard Gonzalez )表示，今年开局良好，他对生物仿制药——生物仿制药竞争——进入 Humira 领地的速度感到“放心”。他说，到目前为止，百健（Biogen）和安进（Amgen）是欧洲最积极的竞争对手。
艾伯维（AbbVie）还庆祝了最近批准的 Skyrizi ，一种治疗皮肤疾病银屑病的药物，它困扰着800万美国人。冈萨雷斯表示，这是一个“重大的长期机遇”，有望在巅峰时期实现数十亿美元的销售。
“ Skyrizi 是我们在过去五年中的第12个新产品或主要适应症批准，证明了我们研发投资的生产率，”他说。
他承认，这种药物最终可能会影响 Humira 治疗银屑病的销售，这是许多分析师关注的问题。Humira 用于治疗风湿性关节炎等许多其他炎症疾病。
受 Humira 销量下滑拖累，总销售额下降1.3%，至78亿美元，与预期相符。去年， Humira 是全球最畅销的药品，2018年实现了艾伯维（AbbVie）近三分之二的收入。
但在去年年底欧洲专利到期后，艾伯维（AbbVie）现在面临着来自生物仿制药竞争的巨大挑战。进入市场的竞争对手包括安进（Amgen）、 Sandoz 、百健（Biogen）、 Samsung Bioepis 和迈兰（Mylan）。
今年第一季度， Humira 实现收入44亿美元的56%。美国的销售额继续增长，同比增长7.1%，至32亿美元，但国际销售额下降28%，按固定汇率计算，下降23%，至12亿美元。
冈萨雷斯表示，艾伯维（AbbVie）支持唐纳德?特朗普( Donald Trump )政府的退税改革提案，该提案将允许患者在药店获得折扣，而不是在整个供应链中分销折扣。
但他批评了许多民主党总统竞选者提出的“全民医保”提案，称如果患者离开医药项目“老年医保”的商业项目，他们的成本可能会上升。“ Part D 项目目前的运作方式是，自付薪酬将大幅上升，我认为这不是他们必然想要的，”他在财报电话会议上表示。