Big Pharma, Big Problems


The drug industry could face plunging sales as patents on some blockbusters are set to expire, - that’s according to Thursday’s WSJ. Might Big Pharma buy its way out of the Journal’s grim prognosis?

CNBC Pharmaceuticals Reporter Mike Huckman joined the panel for this conversation. Following are excerpts from what was said.

Of the three major drug companies that had financial updates this week; Merck (MRK), Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY) and Eli Lilly (LLY), only Lilly had the gilded profit outlook, Huckman said.

Bristol Myers Squibb

"As Plavix goes, so goes Bristol Myers," said James Cornelius the BMY CEO in a statement. "And we don’t know yet how we’re going to mitigate that cliff."

On 2012 they lose the patent on Plavix which will cost the company about $5 billion, Huckman added.

They don’t seem to have a mega-blockbuster in their pipeline, Pete Najarian added, and they need one.

Eli Lilly

Lilly is waiting for FDA approval for one-a-day Cialis, a pill for impotence. If approved it would be taken in much the same way you would take a multi-vitamin.

Earlier on CNBC, Eli Lilly CEO Sidney Taurel explained, "(The pill would be) for people who want to have sex on a more regular basis. With that, you take the pill everyday and you don't have to worry about taking the pill when you want to have intercourse."

Pete Najarian likes LLY stock for the company's diabetes drugs.


Merck has an analyst meeting next Tuesday and they’re expected to drill down on their drug pipeline, Huckman said.


Huckman explained that a recent FDA recommendation against the Genentech drug Avastin came in nearly split decision; a 5 - 4 ruling. But 3 of those who voted against Avastin, came from non-physicians. "It would not be unheard of for the FDA to go against the recommendation," Huckman concluded.


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Trader disclosure: On Dec. 6, 2007, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Macke Owns (INTC), (YHOO); Najarian Owns (AAPL) Options, (GOOG) Options, (YHOO) Options; Seymour Owns (AAPL), (CFC), (F), (INTC), (MBI), (TMA), (XOM); Seygem Asset Management Owns (VIP), (CX)