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Drug Companies Report Sales, Marketing Hikes

Pharmaceutical companies are spending more on marketing despite a faltering economy, lawsuits, and a batch of patent expirations. In recently released second-quarter earnings reports, companies including Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly & Co., and Schering Plough all reported single-digit-percentage gains in sales and promotional expenses for the previous three fiscal months. At Pfizer, revenues rose 3 percent on the strength of a 9 percent gain in sales from cholesterol fighter Lipitor and a 17 percent rise from cox-2 painkiller Celebrex. At Lilly, sales lifted 5 percent to $3.8 billion--with Cymbalta, an antidepressant, serving as a main driver. At Schering, sales increased 11.2 percent to $2.8 billion, the company reported. Remicade and Nasonex were cited as stars in that firmament. Its marketing and administration costs also rocketed 10 percent to $1.2 billion, due to larger commitments to Zetia and Vytorin, both entrants in the crowded anti-cholesterol field. Not all companies reported hikes in marketing spending. Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb saw sales rise in the mid-single-percentage digits, but both their marketing and administration costs declined.



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