Gilead Sales Double, Profit Triples

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Gilead Sciences Inc the maker of Sovaldi the drug for hepatitis C said this week that its net profit for the third quarter had tripled, while overall product sales doubled. This was despite a drop in sales of Sovaldi as patients and their doctors awaited a combination pill that was recently approved.

The company, which just received regulatory approval in the U.S. earlier this month for Harvoni its new drug for hepatitis C, said total sales of its products for the recently ended quarter had more than doubled for a total of $5.97 billion compared to last year’s $2.7 billion.

Sovaldi sales during the third quarter were $2.8 billion, which was short of the estimate on Wall Street of more than $2.97 billion.

Sales for the second quarter for Sovaldi totaled over $3.47 billion. The treatment was first launched in December of 2013 and has been the recipient of criticism due to cost from many insurers.

Gilead shares dropped 4% in trading after hours on Tuesday and thus far, during 2014, the shares are up 48%.

There is warehousing taking place waiting for the Harvoni all-oral launch said one analyst. However, he added that there should be a significant increase in sales of hepatitis C drugs during 2015 as the new all-oral only was launched two weeks ago.

A course of 12-weeks of Harvoni costs $94,500, but Gilead said a number of patients would be cured within eight weeks of starting the treatment.

John Milligan the COO of Gilead said that a broader group of doctors were writing prescriptions for Harvoni than Sovaldi.

Analysts are forecasting sales worldwide for hepatitis C to be $15 billion for Gilead.

The company is also the largest producer in the world of HIV branded drugs and reported a net profit for the quarter of $2.73 billion equal to $1.67 a share. That was compared to last year during the same period of $788.5 million equal to 47 cents a share.

Excluding special items, Gilead earned $1.84 a share.

The company increased the 2014 outlook for product sales at the lower end from $21 billion to $22 billion. However, it left its upper end at $23 billion.

Analysts on Wall Street have forecast sales for 2014 to be $24.3 billion.