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Abbott posts double-digit sales and earnings growth in Q1


ABBOTT PARK, Ill. Abbott this week announced financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2008, seeing worldwide sales growth of 13.8 percent, to $6.8 billion, on pharmaceutical sales up 14.3 percent.

Diluted earnings per share, excluding specified items, were $0.63, reflecting 14.5 percent growth, at the upper end of Abbott’s previously announced guidance range of $0.61 to $0.63. Diluted earnings per share under GAAP were $0.60, up 33.3 percent.

The increase in worldwide pharmaceutical sales was driven by double-digit growth in Humira, Niaspan and Kaletra and 9.8 percent growth in TriCor. Abbott forecasts global sales of Humira, a rheumatoid arthritis medication, of more than $4 billion in 2008.

Worldwide medical products sales increased 13.7 percent, driven by 14.3 percent growth in worldwide diabetes care sales, 22.0 percent growth in international diagnostics sales, and 34.7 percent growth in international vascular sales. International nutritionals saw a 20.8 percent growth.

“Abbott started 2008 with a strong first quarter, following double-digit sales and earnings growth last year,” said Miles White, chairman and chief executive officer. “In addition, we received five key new product approvals during the quarter. The continued productivity of our late-stage pipeline, combined with the underlying strength of our broad mix of businesses, gives us a high level of confidence in our future growth outlook.”

In March, as reported in Drug Store News, Abbott and Takeda announced an agreement to conclude the TAP joint venture, evenly splitting the assets. Abbott will receive full U.S. ownership of Lupron, a complementary product to its oncology pipeline, as well as future cash payments over the next five years. Abbott also received five regulatory approvals in the quarter: Humira for psoriasis and for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Simcor for cholesterol, and two FreeStyle glucose monitoring systems.

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