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Bristol-Myers results lag as Plavix sales evaporate

(Reuters) - Bristol-Myers Squibb Co's quarterly sales and earnings missed Wall Street expectations as cheaper generics nearly wiped out sales of its blood clot preventer Plavix, sending its shares down 2 percent in premarket trading.

Global sales of Plavix, sold in partnership with French drugmaker Sanofi, plunged 96 percent in the third quarter to $64 million, the company reported on Wednesday. The pill was the world's second-biggest-selling medicine until its U.S. patent lapsed in May.

A slew of generics rushed in when Plavix lost its U.S. marketing exclusivity in May, a departure from the common practice of only one generic being allowed on the market during the first six months after a patent expiration.

But multiple generics were allowed because a generic form of Plavix was briefly sold in the United States by Apotex Inc in 2006, before a federal court ruled the privately held Canadian company had infringed the Plavix patent and forced Apotex to stop selling its version.

Bristol-Myers said it lost $711 million, or 43 cents per share in the third quarter, including a charge of $1.8 billion for an experimental treatment for hepatitis C called BMS-986094, which showed disappointing results in clinical trials.

In the year-earlier quarter the company earned $969 million, or 56 cents per share.

Excluding special items, Bristol-Myers earned 41 cents per share in the latest quarter. Analysts, on average, had expected 42 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales, also hit by generic competition for the company's Avapro blood pressure treatment, fell 30 percent to $3.74 billion, well below Wall Street expectations of $3.98 billion.

Bristol-Myers stood by its full-year earnings forecast of between $1.90 and $2.00 per share, excluding one-time items, and guided to the upper end of that range. That would reflect a decline of 12 to 17 percent from 2011 earnings.

The company's shares were down 74 cents to $32.50 in premarket trading.

(Reporting By Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and John Wallace)

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