Rob Black's Healthcare Stock Report

Includes: ERB, TEVA, VRX
by: Rob Black
Bausch & Lomb (BOL), which recalled its ReNu with MoistureLoc contact lens cleaner because of eye infections, cut its earnings outlook. Full-year pretax profit will be between $70 million and $80 million, down from an estimate of between $325 million and $335 million given in October 2005 before the recall of the cleaner. Bausch & Lomb also said that it won't be able to file a quarterly 10-Q as required by Aug. 10 because it's still trying to complete an investigation into internal financial controls and a probe into the accounting of some Asian reserves.

Teva Pharma (NYSE:TEVA), the world's biggest maker of generic drugs, said profit doubled on sales of its copy of Merck's (NYSE:MRK) Zocor cholesterol medicine and revenue from its new U.S. subsidiary, Ivax Corp (IVD). Income in the second quarter rose to $488.4 million from $241.2 million. Teva had been expected to earn $367 million. Sales jumped 77 percent to $2.17 billion. Teva launched seven new products in the U.S. this year, and 19 products were being sold in the second quarter that weren't being sold in the year-earlier period, contributing to the sales increase. Teva focuses sales on the U.S., the biggest consumer of medicine, and said today it has 148 new-drug U.S. applications targeting $84 billion in annual U.S. drug sales. Teva competes with Switzerland's Novartis (NYSE:NVS) in the market for generics, low-cost copies of brand-name drugs whose patents have expired. Teva believes that it's the first company to file patent challenges in 46 of its pending applications with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The U.S. rewards generic companies that are the first to challenge patents on brand-name drugs with six months of exclusive sales rights. The company's record of being the first to file patent challenges plays a major role in its earnings growth. Teva, through Ivax, was the first to challenge Merck's patent on Zocor, which generated $4.4 billion in sales last year. It now shares six-month exclusivity on the generic version with India's Ranbaxy Laboratories.