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Priority Healthcare Sees Shortfall

Weak sales of infertility and hepatitis drugs will eat into earnings.

Priority Healthcare


, which does a billion-and-a-half dollars in revenue annually distributing drugs, said second-quarter earnings will miss forecasts because of weak sales of infertility and hepatitis treatments.

The Lake Mary, Fla., company said the shortfall will cause full-year earnings to be $1.16 to $1.22 a share, about 7 cents below the consensus estimate if it hits the high end of the range. Sales should be $1.43 billion to $1.48 billion, about $10 million short in the best case.

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The company said "economic conditions" led to weaker-than-expected infertility sales, and said the segment's margins also got squeezed. In addition, the company's oncology distribution segment was less profitable than hoped, while sales of hepatitis C treatments were lower than expected because of slow growth in patients.

The shares were recently down $1.95, or 10%, to $17.55 on the Instinet premarket session.

Priority Healthcare's stock traded as high as $24.41 as recently as June 6, and has been steadily falling amid a Raymond James downgrade and rumors fueled by cautious comments at an analyst meeting.

"Our anticipated shortfall this quarter is disappointing, however, we continue to maintain and grow market share in infertility and hepatitis C," Priority Healthcare said in a statement. "The number of new patients seeking treatment with these therapies continues to be less than we forecasted at the end of the first quarter. We believe the shortfall in new patients is a short-term issue."