April 5, 2014 5:59 am JST

Hisamitsu seen with first operating profit gain in 6 years

TOKYO -- U.S. sales of a drug for hot flashes are expected to revive operating profit growth at Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical for the first time in six years.

     Group operating profit at the Japanese drugmaker is seen climbing to nearly 21 billion yen ($200 million) this fiscal year, a gain of about 5% over the estimated year-earlier result.

     Sales are expected to rise 6% to about 160 billion yen. In the U.S., a treatment for hot flashes in menopausal women is expected to generate growth following its release last year, easing the sting of cuts to government-mandated drug prices in Japan.

     The new prices, which took effect this month, include a roughly 5% markdown on Mohrus pain-relieving patches, a big seller. Hisamitsu hopes that higher sales volume will keep revenue from the product steady. On the cost front, advertising and R&D expenses look likely to hold at year-earlier levels.

     For the year ended Feb. 28, operating profit likely dropped to around 19.5 billion yen on higher-than-expected promotional expenses stemming from the early rollout of the hot-flash drug. The company had forecast a 20% decline to 20.3 billion yen.