Abbott Laboratories has posted a healthy set of financials for the third quarter, driven again by its anti-inflammatory blockbuster Humira.

Net income came in at $1.94 billion, up from $303 million in the like-earlier period when the figures were hit by charges, while group sales inched down 0.4% to $9.77 billion due to negative currency impact.

Proprietary pharmaceutical revenues were up 2.4% to $4.42 billion and Humira (adalimumab), which is approved for indications covering rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis, contributed $2.33 billion (+10.1%). As for the company’s lipids franchise, TriCor (fenofibrate) and TriLipix (fenofibric acid) had sales of $404 million, down 2.8%, while Niaspan (niacin) brought in $232 million, a decrease of 5.3%.

Revenues from the HIV drug Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) were down 9.9% to $267 million, while sales of the prostate cancer drug Lupron (leuprolide) fell 11% to $189 million. The hypothyroid medication Synthroid (levothyroxine) winched up 0.2% to $157 million and Abbott's Androgel testosterone replacement therapy climbed 32.7% to $287 million.

The company's nutritional products had sales of $1.61 billion, up 4.5%, while 'established pharmaceuticals', which includes sales of branded generics outside the USA, fell 7.3% to $1.27 billion. Turnover of vascular products, which includes heart stents, fell 10.2% to $743 million.

Chief executive Miles White said Abbott delivered another quarter of strong results with ongoing earnings per share up more than 10 percent, "despite a challenging global economy." He noted that there were "several product launches across pharmaceuticals, vascular and diagnostics, which will contribute to future growth", adding that "we remain on track to separate into two leading health care companies on January 1". Abbott's pharma business will be spun off into a new company called AbbVie.

Ireland hit hard by workforce cut

Meantime, Abbott also revealed that it is laying off 550 workers and "several hundred" more in 2013.

The cuts will affect its nutrition, medical devices, established pharmaceuticals and diagnostics units but not the proprietary pharmaceutical division.

Abbott spokesman Scott Stoffel was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying that "the businesses independently assessed the environment and competitive landscape" and the changes will enable them "to align their resources to better meet evolving business needs".

Ireland will take the brunt of the cuts with 180 jobs set to go over the next year at its facility in Sligo. More than 130 staff will still be employed at the site, which specialises in nutrition and voluntary redundancies are being sought.