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April 24 (Reuters) - U.S. drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co on Thursday reported lower than expected revenue, hurt by plunging sales of its Cymbalta depression drug, which is now facing generic competition.
Lilly said it earned $728 million, or 68 cents per share, in the first quarter ended March 31. That compared with $1.55 billion, or $1.42 per share, in the year-earlier period, when Lilly posted special gains from transferring rights to a diabetes drug.
Excluding special items, Lilly earned 70 cents per share, matching the average forecast of analysts compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Company revenue fell 16 percent to $4.68 billion. Wall Street expected $4.8 billion. (Reporting by Ransdell Pierson)