The wave of financial finagling has apparently reached the drug industry. Breaking news of an SEC probe into Bristol-Myers Squibbs sent drug investors scurrying for shelter.
(Nasdaq, TASE:TEVA) sank 5% on Nasdaq last night, and started Thursday with a 7% dive on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
The pummeling it took at home, however, has more to do with news that giant
(NYSE:PFE) will be marketing Rebif, a multiple-sclerosis drug made by Europe's
(NYSE:SRA, Europe:SEOZ), in the United States, where it could compete with Teva's Copaxone.
The drops in share price are unwarranted, says Teva chief executive Israel Makov. The company's accounting system is straightforward and transparent. There is no way Teva would do anything to mislead the public, Makov told TheMarker on Thursday.
Israeli accounting regulations are even stricter than American rules, Makov added. Inflating revenues or profits is not a possibility, even if a company wanted to.
Refusing to comment on the blooming Bristol-Myers scandal, Makov noted only that it does not touch on Teva in any way.
On Teva's sagging share price, Makov said there is no reason for its dive in the last two days.
As for the alliance between Pfizer with Serono, to sell multiple-sclerosis treatment Rebif in the American market, Makov sees it as a good thing.
Pfizer's clout could increase the total market for MS treatments, he says. There are about 350,000 MS sufferers in the United States, but only 150,000 or so receive treatment in one firm or another. But in any case, Makov says, Teva's marketing of MS products is second to none and it does not fear Pfizer's entry into the arena.
Teva's MS product, Copaxone, has several unique qualities that give it an advantage over rival medications, Makov points out. It has better results over the long run, and involves less side effects compared with interferon-based drugs.
In conclusion, Makov said he feels comfortable with analytical forecasts for its financials, and sees no cause to amend its Copaxone sales forecasts for 2002 and 2003.