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Questor shares fall after hours on prescriptions

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc. reported a disappointing first-quarter profit Tuesday because it sold fewer prescriptions for its core drug, which sent the pharmaceutical maker's shares down sharply in after-hours trading.

The company, based in Anaheim, Calif., makes drugs for difficult-to-treat autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. It primary product is H.P. Acthar Gel, which is used to treat 19 conditions, including multiple sclerosis in adults and infantile spasms.

Questcor said it shipped 4,830 vials of Acthar in the first quarter, up slightly from 4,111 vials in the first quarter of last year but down from 6,330 in the fourth quarter. The company said sales were hurt during the quarter by some distribution channel issues and fewer prescriptions for Acthar to treat MS exacerbations.

The company earned $39.1 million, or 65 cents per share, for the quarter that ended March 31. That is up from $38.5 million, or 58 cents per share, in the first quarter last year. Adjusted earnings were 76 cents per share, compared with 61 cents per share last year.

Questcor's revenue increased 41 percent to $135.1 million from $96 million, including an $8.4 million contribution coming from recently acquired BioVectra Inc.

Don M. Bailey, president and CEO of Questcor, said first-quarter results were below the company's expectations but that recent vial shipment and prescription activity indicates that positive sales momentum has returned. The company noted that it shipped 2,550 vials of Acthar to its distributor in April of 2013, a record number in a single month.

It wasn't enough to please investors though. Shares of the company fell $2.74, nearly 9 percent, to $28 in after-hours trading. Its stock added $1.02 to close regular trading at $30.74 Tuesday.