Eli Lilly 1Q Profit Falls 15% Amid Higher Expenses

Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) said Monday its profits slid by 15% in the first-quarter as the pharmaceutical giant struggled to fend off competition from generic drugs.

The Indianapolis-based company said it earned $1.06 billion, or 95 cents a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $1.25 billion, or $1.13 a share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, it earned $1.24 a share, surpassing the Street’s view of $1.17.

Revenue grew by 6% to $5.84 billion, compared with consensus calls for $5.7 billion. International sales jumped 13% to $2.76 billion.

“Lilly started the year by delivering solid financial results as we continue to advance the next wave of potential new medicines in our pipeline," CEO John Lechleiter said in a statement. "Growth in international markets and the strong performance of Cymbalta, Alimta and our animal health business drove volume-based revenue growth of 6%, despite a significant decline in Gemzar sales due to generic competition.”

Looking ahead, Eli Lilly is still forecasting its 2011 non-GAAP EPS will decline 9% to 12% from 2010 to $4.15 to $4.30. The company said it sees GAAP EPS sinking 12% to 16% to $3.86 to $4.01.

Eli Lilly said sales of Zyprexa, which is used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia, increased 6% last quarter to $1.2 billion. Depression and anxiety drug Cymbalta saw its sales jump 13% to $908.8 million, while cancer drug Alimta revenue rose 10% to $579.9 million.

Shares of Lilly slipped 1.11% to $35.61, slightly outperforming a 1.51% decline on the broad S&P 500.