Vertex Declines After Sales of Hepatitis Drug Incivek Fall

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX) dropped 7.4 percent after estimates showed sales of its hepatitis C drug Incivek declined in the past two weeks.

Vertex, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, fell to $40.09 at 4 p.m. New York time. IMS Health Inc., a prescription-data company, said total sales of Incivek “hit a peak” in the week of Sept. 23 and declined in each of the past two weeks, Jason Kantor, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in San Francisco said in a note.

Vertex rose the most in two months on Oct. 13 after IMS said its figures for the last two weeks of September were adjusted based on estimates to account for missing data. IMS today revised the estimates for the last two weeks in September upward 4.9 percent and 4.3 percent, Kantor said in the note. Data for new prescription sales has not been updated.

“Bottom line is that the recent weeks of IMS data neither confirm nor rule out the potential that Incivek continues to grow,” Kantor wrote.

The controversy likely will continue until Vertex reports its third-quarter earnings Oct. 27, he said.

Incivek competes with Victrelis, a medicine made by Whitehouse Station, New Jersey-based Merck & Co. that was also approved for sale earlier this year.

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