Wires

UPDATE 1-Eli Lilly lifts 2019 profit forecast after third-quarter beat

(Compares with estimates)

Oct 23 (Reuters) - Eli Lilly and Co raised its 2019 profit forecast after reporting a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, helped by performance of its diabetes drug, Humalog, and lower tax bill.

The drugmaker is one of the three main providers of insulin products and had agreed earlier this year to offer a half priced version of its insulin injection Humalog in response to intensifying pressure from politicians to lower drug costs for consumers.

Sales from both versions of the insulin injection fell 2.4% to $648.9 million, but narrowly beat analysts' average estimate of $645.33 million, according to three analysts polled by Refinitiv.

The drugmaker now expects 2019 adjusted earnings per share to be in the range $5.75 to $5.85, up from the prior range of $5.67 to $5.77.

Net income rose to $1.25 billion, or $1.37 per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, from $1.15 billion, or $1.12 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, Lilly earned $1.48 per share. Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.41 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Revenue rose 3.2% to $5.48 billion in the quarter but missed Wall Street expectation of $5.50 billion, largely due to flat overall sales in the United States. (Reporting by Manas Mishra and Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)