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Perrigo sees impressive sales, expects more in the near future

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ALLEGAN, Mich. It seems that Perrigo Corp. is becoming a force to be reckoned with. By March, the company expects to market and distribute omeprazole, the generic form of Prilosec OTC, in the U.S. Dexcel Pharma Technologies in Israel, the company said, will manufacture the drug.

Although a patent litigation had occurred between the Dexcel and Prilosec’s maker AstraZeneca, Perrigo announced Thursday that the suit was settled. The generic drug first must win approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Prilosec sales are reportedly in the $750 million range.

Meanwhile, the company posted record-breaking sales and profits for its first quarter ended Sept. 29 and boosted its forecast for the balance of its fiscal year. Sales were up 12 percent from a year ago, to $382.7 million. Profits more than doubled, to $34.1 million compared with $16.9 million for the same period last year.

The company’s success caused it to increase its earnings-per-share forecast to $1.12 to $1.22 for 2008, up 26 to 37 percent over last year.

The move clears the way for a product that could bring $150 million to $200 million in sales next year.

“This is the largest opportunity in the 120-year history of Perrigo,” said chief executive officer Joseph Papa. “Perrigo will commercialize this product exclusively and save consumers up to $150 million per year.”

Perrigo, however, is already seeing green elsewhere.

The company has been gaining customers from its competitor, Leiner Health Products. Sales to former Leiner customers totaled $20 million. The expectation for the year is up to $100 million in sales.

“We’ve worked very hard to go out and rescue their customers,” Papa said.

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