A 10.6% increase in sales of its top-selling arthritis drug Humira still couldn't produce positive fourth-quarter earnings for drugmaker AbbVie, the Chicago-based spinoff of Abbott Laboratories.
Humira sales hit $3.36 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014 but the company reported a net loss of $810 million, compared to a $1.23 billion profit in the same quarter last year. The loss came in part because of transaction costs associated with its failed merger with Irish drugmaker Shire. Plans for that deal terminated in October. Net income for the year fell to $1.77 billion, compared to $4.13 billion a year ago.
Net sales rose 6.6% to $5.45 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to $5.11 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Annual sales also went up to $19.96 billion in 2014, compared to $18.79 billion in 2013.
The company last month received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its hepatitis C therapy Viekira Pak. The new treatment's arrival set off a bidding war among pharmacy benefit managers and insurers seeking to obtain price reductions on the existing and costly competing drugs on the market. The treatment has already generated $48 million in sales.
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