Thursday night, it was

Bristol-Myers Squibb's

(BMY) - Get Report

turn to raise the warning flag.



(MRK) - Get Report


two days ago, Bristol-Myers warned that 2002 earnings would come in below expectations. The drugmaker said it expects to earn between $2.25 a share and $2.35 a share next year, well below the Wall Street consensus estimate of $2.57 a share.

At the same time, the company reiterated guidance for 2001, saying it expects to earn $2.41 a share, matching Wall Street consensus estimates.

Before the warning was announced, shares of Bristol-Myers closed down $1.45, or 2.9%, to $49 a share. After hours, the stock traded lower by another $2.

The Bristol-Myers warning doesn't come as much of a surprise because the drugmaker is facing the same kind of drug patent-expiration pressures as Merck. In this case, Bristol-Myers said it expects sales of its top-selling diabetes drug Glucophage to fall by 80% next year as generic versions hit the market. This year Glucophage sales are expected to reach $2.1 billion.

The company has been haunting the halls of Congress in recent months, trying to get legislative help to stall generic Glucophage competition. Thursday, Bristol-Myers admitted that those efforts have failed.The company has already lost revenue due to patent expirations on the cancer drug Taxol and the antianxiety drug BuSpar.