Strong Plavix sales pushes Bristol-Myers into the black for Q4

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Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has reported strong fourth quarter sales and overall 2008 fiscal year performance, which ended Dec. 31, 2008.

For the quarter, the company booked a net income of $1.24 billion, compared with a loss of $89 million for the same period the prior year. BMS said the results included an after-tax gain of $582 million related to the sale of its stake in ImClone Systems, which was acquired by Eli Lilly in 2008 for $6.5 billion. 

For the full year, net income totaled $5.25 billion, which was nearly 2-1/2 times the $2.17 billion profit for 2007. Revenue rose 13 percent to $20.6 billion from $18.2 billion in 2007, according the drug maker.

Overall, revenue for BMS grew nearly 4 percent to $5.25 billion for the quarter, and specifically, its pharmaceutical sales grew 4 percent to $$4.54 billion in the fourth quarter. For the 2008 fiscal year, the company said its pharmaceutical sales grew from $15.62 billion in 2007 to $17.72 billion in 2008.

The New York City-based company said its top-selling drug for the 2008 fourth quarter was its blood thinner Plavix, which sold about $1.47 billion worldwide during the quarter, up 7 percent from the same period last year, when the company booked $1.3 billion for the product. The worldwide 2008 year-end for Plavix sales was $5.6 billion, up 18 percent from the 2007 fiscal year. In the U.S., Plavix saw an increase of 21 percent to $4.9 billion in sales for 2008.