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Generics Plague Bristol-Myers

Earnings fall on flat sales as domestic competition heats up.

Generic competition continued to eat into the top and bottom lines of


(BMY) - Get Report

in the first quarter, although the drug company was able to top analysts' forecasts.

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Bristol-Myers said it earned $761 million, or 39 cents a share, on sales of $4.7 billion in the latest quarter, compared with earnings of $856 million, or 44 cents a share, on sales of $4.7 billion last year. Analysts had been predicting earnings of 38 cents a share in the latest quarter.

The company said domestic sales fell 6%, reflecting lower sales of its Plavix stroke medication and higher generic competition for its Glucophage diabetes treatment and Taxol cancer drug. International sales rose 15%, mainly because of a 9% benefit attributable to the weaker dollar as well as stronger sales of its Pravachol anticholesterol drug and Taxol.

Worldwide sales of Pravachol, the company's largest-selling product, increased 13%, including a 7% favorable foreign exchange impact, to $613 million.

Reduced earnings also reflected higher advertising costs and a weaker product mix.