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Teva Pharmaceutical 4Q profit falls 37 percent

The Associated Press

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.'s fourth-quarter earnings sank 37 percent, as generic competition from other companies hurt revenue for one of the world's biggest generic drugmakers.

The Israeli company said Thursday its revenue from the United States fell 14 percent in the quarter to $2.62 billion, as sales of one of its brand-name products, Provigil, slid due to cheaper, generic competition.

Provigil treats tiredness caused by narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and changes in work schedule. Teva acquired the drug when it bought Cephalon Inc. in 2011. As part of that deal, antitrust regulators required Teva to sell the U.S. rights to generic Provigil to another company. Par Pharmaceutical Cos. bought those rights and began selling a generic version of the drug last year, as did another company, Mylan Inc.

Teva said Provigil's revenue tumbled to $25 million from $350 million in the final quarter of 2011, as it joined large drugmakers like Pfizer Inc. and Eli Lilly and Co. that also have seen sales fall after losing U.S. patent protection for key products.

Overall, Teva earned $320 million, or 37 cents per share, in the three months that ended Dec. 31. That compares to earnings of $506 million, or 57 cents per share, in the 2011 fourth quarter. Adjusted earnings totaled $1.32 per share.

Total revenue fell more than 7 percent to $5.25 billion.

Analysts expected, on average, earnings of $1.33 per share on $5.26 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

Teva said revenue from generic drugs, which made up slightly more than half its total, fell 11 percent in the quarter to $2.7 billion. The company said the decline came largely due to a tough comparison with the final quarter of 2011, when it saw "extraordinary" contributions from its launch of a generic version of Lilly's antipsychotic Zyprexa and from an agreement related to another company's launch of generic Lipitor, a cholesterol fighter made by Pfizer.

For the full year, Teva earned $1.96 billion, or $2.25 per share, on $20.32 billion in revenue.

U.S.-traded shares of Teva fell 30 cents to $37.86 Thursday morning, in line with slight decreases from broader trading indexes. The share price has fallen about 15 percent over the past year.