Big Pharma Earnings Watch: Eli Lilly

Oct 24, 2019

Pharmaceutical Giant Beats Q3 Profit Forecasts After Hiking Prices on Drugs Used to Treat Diabetes and Cancer

Yesterday, Eli Lilly joined fellow Big Pharma giants Johnson & Johnson, Roche and Novartis in surpassing earnings expectations for the third quarter of 2019 — after continuing to hike prices on its medications despite the rising crisis of affordability.

The brand name drug maker boasted revenues of $5.48 billion and beat Wall Street expectations with an earnings surprise of 3.5 percent. In fact, over the past year, the brand name drug maker has surpassed estimates three times while repeatedly increasing prices on its top-selling drugs:

  • Sales of Trulicity, a drug used to treat diabetes, rose 24 percent this quarter, accounting for a whopping $1.08 billion in revenue for the company.
  • So far this year, Eli Lilly has raised the price of Trulicity four percent.
  • This summer, Eli Lilly also jacked up the price of three of its cancer drugs – Cyramza, Alimta and Erbitux.

Eli Lilly also raised its 2019 adjusted earnings forecast by 10 cents a share “from the prior range of $5.67 to $5.77 after reporting higher-than-expected adjusted earnings.”

The company’s strong performance this quarter was also helped by sales of the company’s brand name insulin Humalog.

  • Eli Lilly came under fire earlier this year when it was revealed that the average list price of the drug “rose 52%, or more than $200, from 2014 to mid-2017.”
  • Eli Lilly is one of three companies that control 99 percent of the insulin market. In 1996, a 10-milliliter vial of Humalog cost $21, but today, the same vial costs patients $275.
Eli Lilly beating its earnings forecast in the third quarter continues the trend across the industry started by Johnson & Johnson, Roche and Novartis. Today we’ll see if Big Pharma giant AstraZeneca will join them.