Amgen’s (AMGN) Troubled Quarter

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Amgen (AMGN) actually rallied a bit after hours yesterday. But, revenue growth was hard to come by.

Amgen reported net income of $1.02 billion, or 90 cents per share, for the quarter ended June 30, compared with $14 million, or 1 cent a share, in the same period last year. Revenue grew slightly to $3.73 billion from $3.60 billion in the year-ago period.

The numbers beat expectations by a small amount.

But, Amgen is still in the woods. According to Reuters, sales of its biggest drug, Aranesp, fell 19 percent in the United States amid safety concerns. One analyst commented that many investors have overestimated the potential sales decline of the anemia drugs. "They are pricing in the worst-case scenario."

That is not the case. Amgen is facing the kind of backlash with Aranesp that Boston Scientific (BSX) has had with its stent business and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has had with diabetes drug Avandia.

Once patients, doctors, and the press sour on a drug or medical device, winning back sales is nearly impossible.

Douglas A. McIntyre