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Shire Q2: The Party's Over as Teva's Generics Decimate Adderall

For months, Shire has been trying to defy gravity by jacking up the price of Adderall XR in order to encourage users to switch to its cheaper, new ADHD drug, Vyvanse. The company saw huge revenue increases as a result.

BNET noted last September that this strategy had a fatal flaw -- as soon as Adderall went generic, those sales would collapse. And if Adderall patients could switch to Vyvanse, then Vyvanse patients could switch to generic Adderall.

In Q2 2009, Shire came down to earth: Revenues tumbled 18 percent to $630 million, following a 77 percent decline in sales of Adderall to $67.4 million from $296 million the year before. Vyvanse sales only earned $114 million in sales -- less than half the drug it was intended to replace.

Worse, Vyvanse earned $117 million in Q1, so sales there are actually flat -- and that's from the period before generic Adderall, marketed by Teva -- came in.

As late as November, the company was telling analysts the opposite would happen, that Vyvanse would be unaffected by generic Adderall.

Now, the company is telling investors to wait until the back-to-school season starts, when parents put their kids on meds. Will it work? Perhaps. But the fact that the company is promoting Vyvanse for adults means the school thing is irrelevant. If Vyvanse is to replace Adderall it would have to more than double its sales base in the face of generic headwinds.

Bottom line: Say goodbye to Adderall XR. It's done. The party's over.

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