(Adds analyst comment, product sales, updates shares)
Jan 29 (Reuters) - Cost cuts helped U.S. drugmaker Abbvie Inc report slightly better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings on Friday, but shares slipped nearly 3 percent as revenue fell short of expectations for a second time in the past eight quarters.
Global sales of AbbVie’s arthritis treatment Humira jumped 10.5 percent to $3.72 billion, even as a stronger dollar crimped sales by 13 percent in markets outside the United States. And sales of the company’s new hepatitis C treatment, Viekira Pak, jumped to $554 million from $469 million in the prior quarter.
Still, sales of both products came in slightly below Wall Street analysts’ forecasts, raising questions about the sustainability of AbbVie’s key products, Credit Suisse analyst Vamil Divan said in a research note.
He said Viekira Pak, which faces tough competition from potent drugs sold by Gilead Sciences Inc and other drugmakers, did not appear on track to achieve the company’s own sales goal.
AbbVie earned a net profit of $1.52 billion, or 92 cents a share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, after a loss of $810 million, or 51 cents a share, a year earlier.
Adjusted revenue rose 24.4 percent to 6.36 billion, but was below the average analyst estimate of $6.39 billion.
Excluding special items, AbbVie earned $1.13 per share, slightly over the average analyst estimate of $1.12 cents.
Divan said AbbVie narrowly beat earnings forecasts due to spending constraints.
Shares slipped 2.7 percent to $54.33 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Ransdell Pierson in New York and Amrutha Penumudi in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernadette Baum)