Lilly posts sales below estimates, trims profit forecast

Prozac medicine is seen at a pharmacy in Los Angeles
Prozac medicine is seen at a pharmacy in Los Angeles, California, October 18, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

(Reuters) - U.S. drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue on Thursday, hurt by disappointing sales of its cancer and diabetes drugs, and trimmed its 2014 profit forecast.

Lilly said it earned $728 million, or 68 cents per share, in the first quarter. It had profit of $1.55 billion, or $1.42 per share, a year earlier, when Lilly posted special gains from transferring rights to a diabetes drug.

Excluding special items, Lilly earned 70 cents per share, matching the average estimate of analysts, as compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue fell 16 percent to $4.68 billion while Wall Street expected $4.8 billion.

Lilly said it now expects earnings of $2.72 to $2.80 per share, excluding items, in full-year 2014. In January, the Indianapolis-based drugmaker forecast $2.77 to $2.85.

(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)