Teva Comments on Delays to its Generic Zoloft Launch

| About: Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA)
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During Teva Pharmaceutical's (NYSE:TEVA) 2Q06 conference call this morning, George Barrett, President & CEO of Teva North America, revealed for the first time that Teva's planned release of generic Zoloft during the 3rd quarter has run into some delays on the production side. The statement opened a flood of questions by analysts who pressed an evasive Barrett until he gave them what they wanted.

zoloft

Rick Silver, Lehman Brothers

Can you give us an update on the launch plans for generic Zoloft?

George Barrett, President & CEO, Teva North America

Hi, Rick, good morning. What we can provide is really what we said which is that we do expect a launch in the third quarter. We had anticipated that we might regret at this point we are not quite ready, but we still look forward to that launch.

David Woodburne, Prudential Equity Group

Thanks and again congratulations on a great quarter. George, in terms of the Zoloft, can I ask, is the delay due to capacity allocation or does it have anything to do with utilizing Teva’s API on that?

George Barrett, President & CEO, Teva North America

David, I can’t provide more color on the Zoloft launch other than to say that we are not quite ready. I think that’s as much as I can share at this point.

Norman Fidel, Alliance Capital

Thank you, and George I’m not going to let you off the hook so easily on the Zoloft question. When the final approval was announced for circulating the Zoloft I think the expected launch time was late July. So it does seem that it is delayed beyond that, are the issues exclusively supply related or is this also related to just trying to manage the growth since your period of six-month exclusivity is not jeopardized by a delay and it extends your rapid growth into the future if you delay that launch? Thanks.

George Barrett, President & CEO, Teva North America

Hi, Norman, and I’ll give a try and see if I can do it again here. We had as I said hoped to launch and have all of the products prepared for the kind of launch that we wanted by the end of July and we’re simply not there. So, as you know we had an enormous amount of product to put through the system, we had some late stage labeling issues that we needed to deal with, so we had a lot of work to do to pull this launch together and it’s very important when you launch with particular interest of satisfying customers to make sure you have an effective launch. We’re not quite ready and it was better for us to wait till we were ready for the optimal launch rather than to move prematurely.

Israel Makov, President and Chief Executive Officer, Teva

I would like to add one sentence, George, and as a method of policy we never delay launch of a product just because we want to have a better distribution of sales or profits in quarters. It’s not that. When we are ready we go. Therefore, because you asked this question, we never delay a launch just because we want to have better cosmetics to our results.

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