January 28, 2013 | By Márcio Barra
Last week, Abbott laboratories released their full year results, and the fourth quarter sales of Humira took the spotlight, showing a 23.1% increase on year-to-year earnings ($2.7 billion), and with 2012 annual sales reaching a new peak, soaring to nearly $9.3 billion. To put it in perspective, Lipitor, from Pfizer, the biggest selling drug of all time had peak year sales of $13 billion in 2006, followed by Plavix, from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi, with peak year sales of $9.3 billion in 2011. Full year-revenue for 2013 is expected to hit $10.7 billion, taking 2nd place from Plavix and nearing Lipitor sales.
If Humira will ever knock Lipitor from the top spot is another question. Humira’s patent ends in 2016, so there’s still room to grow, especially when you consider that Humira is a biological, and not a small molecule like Plavix and Lipitor, and thus doesn’t suffer the dramatic sale descend that small molecules do when their patents expire. Still, to take the number one spot from Lipitor it has to have peak sales higher than $13 billion, and with competition from the new new oral JAK inhibitor tofacitinib (brand name Xeljanz) , from Pfizer, approved by the FDA’s expert panel in November 2012, it may prove though.
Despite the good news, Abbott reported a 35% drop in fourth-quarter profit because of costs associated to the creation of its spinoff, AbbVie pharmaceuticals.