Big Pharma Earnings Watch: AbbVie

Apr 26, 2019

AbbVie Beats Forecast But Dips In Revenue In Demonstration That Competition Lowers Prices

AbbVie released its first quarter earnings and beat projections and raised its profit outlook.  CEO Richard Gonzalez said that the company was off to an “excellent start” for the year – the latest indication Big Pharma continues to thrive, while price-gouging American patients.

But while AbbVie beat earnings projections, the company’s revenue took a slight dip.  AbbVie reported a 1.3 percent drop in revenue.  Their earnings totaled $7.83 billion after revenue from its top-selling drug Humira dropped 5.6 percent.

Why did AbbVie’s revenue off of Humira sales drop?  Simple.  Because increased competition works to drive down prices.

A bit of background on Humira:

  • Humira, a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, is the world’s top-selling drug by sales.
  • Global sales of Humira reached nearly $20 billion in 2018.  For perspective, the entire NFL made $15 billion last season.
  • Since 2012, the price of Humira has increased nearly 100 percent from $19,000 to $38,000.
  • According to an I-MAK study, AbbVie has filed 247 patent applications in an effort to delay competition.

But thanks to biosimilar competition outside of the United States, international sales of Humira dropped 28 percent.  This is due to the fact that their patent in Europe expired last year.  This allowed companies such as Amgen and Mylan to develop biosimilars and bring them to market at lower prices – driving down what AbbVie could charge for Humira in those markets.

Competition works, but those benefitting most from increased competition aren’t the American people.  This is why it’s more important than ever that Congress pass market-based solutions that will allow generics and biosimilars to market faster and crack down on Big Pharma’s anti-competitive tactics.  Solutions such as the CREATES Act, the REMEDY Act, Purple and Orange Book Improvements, and those addressing pay-for-delay should advance to deliver relief for American patients and consumers.

AbbVie beating its earnings forecast in the first quarter continues a trend across the industry.

Other pharmaceutical giants who have beat earnings expectations in the first quarter of 2019 include Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis and Johnson & Johnson.  Read more about the price-gouging that contributed to these boosted earnings HERE.

First quarter earnings from AstraZeneca, Sanofi, Amgen, Eli Lilly, Merck and Pfizer will be released over the coming days.