Eli Lilly has booked an 11% drop in third-quarter sales to $5.4 billion, as generic competition to it antipsychotic Zyprexa continued to gnaw at its performance.

On the plus side, net income (GAAP) for the period grew 7% to $1.3 billion, as the downturn in sales was countered by a $1.4 billion payment from Bristol-Myers Squibb, relating to the latter's acquisition of Amylin.

Earnings per share were up 6% at $1.18 from the year-ago quarter.

But operating income came in at $1.1 billion, dropping 32% from the third quarter of 2011, mainly because of a lower gross margin from the loss of patent exclusivity for Zyprexa (olanzapine), partially offset by a decrease in total operating expenses (down 3%). 

Out of the 11% drop in sales, nine percentage points were down to lower volume, with the remainder due to currency effects.

The company is certainly feeling the bite of losing patent protection for its schizophrenia drug Zyprexa (in October last year), with the drug's third-quarter sales plummeting 68% to $374.5 million.

Total revenues in the US slipped 9% to $3 billion, while elsewhere sales fell 15% to $2.5 billion, as Zyprexa and pricing-related losses were partly offset by higher volume in other products.

The antidepressant/fibromyalgia blockbuster Cymbalta (duloxetine) in particular was a star player during the period, with sales jumping 16% to $1.2 billion.

Product sales

Also on the rise: sales of lung cancer drug Alimta (pemetrexed) were up 2% at $643.6 million; erectile dysfunction drug Cialis (tadalafil) grew 3% to $482.1 million; osteoporosis therapy Forteo (teriparatide) jumped 20% to $288.7 million; and the bloodthinner Effient (prasugrel) leapt 31% to $109.7 million.

Those faring less well include: the osteoporosis drug Evista (raloxifene), sales of which decreased 9% to $247.0 million; Strattera (atomoxetine) for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, which was down 5% at $145.6 million; and the insulin product Humulin, falling 7% to $131.9 million.

"The third quarter was an eventful one for Lilly, as we gained a better understanding of several potential new medicines in our clinical pipeline, while maintaining focus on delivering solid financial results despite the loss of Zyprexa patent exclusivity," said Lilly chief executive John Lechleiter, commenting on the results. 

Looking forward, Lilly has updated its 2012 EPS guidance, now expecting the full-year result to fall in $3.68 to $3.78 range.

But it still anticipates revenues of between $21.8 and $22.8 billion, including an expected decline of over $3 billion in Zyprexa sales.