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Gilead Reports Increase in Net Profits Driven by Expanding Sales of Antiretrovirals, Hepatitis B Medications
Gilead Sciences on Thursday reported an 11% increase in second-quarter net profits, largely driven by increases in sales for its antiretroviral drugs Viread and Emtriva as well as its hepatitis B medicine Hepsera, the Los Angeles Times reports. Sales of Viread increased by 18% to $197.2 million from $167 million in last year's second quarter, while sales of Emtriva rose 37% to $16.5 million, up from $12 million the previous year. Both pills have an "advantage" over "rival" antiretrovirals because they are taken only once a day in combination with other pills, according to the Times. The increase in Viread sales "came at the expense" of Bristol-Myers Squibb's antiretroviral drug Zerit, the Times reports. Sales of Zerit -- which is taken twice daily -- dropped 20% in the second quarter to $78 million, BMS announced on Thursday. However, Gilead did not "make inroads" against GlaxoSmithKline's Epivir, which reported sales of $138 million in the second quarter, according to the Times. About 40% of the 126,000 patients who take Viread also take Epivir as part of their daily regimen. Gilead said it would like to switch those patients to a combination of Viread and Emtriva, the Times reports. Gilead is expecting to receive FDA approval in September of a once-daily pill that combines the two antiretrovirals (Gellene, Los Angeles Times, 7/30). Gilead said it expects sales of Viread and Emtriva to total between $850 million and $875 million for the year, according to Reuters. The company increased the price of Viread earlier this year by 4% but said it would decrease the price of the drug by 37% in 70 developing countries, including all African nations, Reuters reports. Sales of Gilead's hepatitis B treatment Hepsera increased 48% from the first quarter to $28 million in the second quarter, compared with $12.4 million one year ago, according to Reuters (Berkrot, Reuters, 7/29).
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