Wyeth, Schering-Plough, Novartis post first quarter profits

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Wyeth, Schering-Plough and Novartis each posted strong growth of prescription drug sales for the first quarter of 2005.
Wyeth said yesterday its first-quarter sales rose 14 percent to $4.6 billion, up from $4 billion the same time last year.
Sales of Wyeth's Prevnar vaccine, to prevent pneumococcal disease in children, more than doubled to $391 million. Sales of Enbrel, outside North America soared 75 percent to $237 million, fueled by EU approval last September to expand the use of the injectable drug to treat psoriasis. Wyeth's antidepressant Effexor saw a sales jump of 12 percent to $868 million but those numbers are expected to taper off amid concerns that depression drugs may raise the risk of suicidal thoughts in children.
Schering-Plough (SP) today reported its first-quarter sales rose 21 percent to $2.4 billion, up from $1.96 billion last year.
SP attributed its strong performance to sales of its cholesterol fighting drugs Zetia and Vytorin, a joint venture with Merck, and a recent deal with Bayer AG to sell Avelox and Cipro antibiotics in the U.S.
Novartis said today its first-quarter sales rose 11 per cent to $7.34 billion, up from $6.63 billion in the first three months of 2004. Sales growth was mainly driven by the company's generics unit Sandoz, the company said. In February, Novartis announced it was buying generic drugmakers Eon Labs and Hexal AG creating the world's largest generics company.
Two of Novartis' best-selling drugs are the hypertension treatment Diovan and cancer medicine Gleevec.
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