Abbvie quarterly sales beat as Humira shines; maintains forecast

May 1 (Reuters) - AbbVie Inc stuck with its 2020 adjusted profit forecast on Friday after strong demand for its blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug, Humira, helped it beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly sales.

The forecast of $9.61 to $9.71 per share in earnings assumes that “stay-at-home” orders will be gradually lifted starting this month in Europe and United States, the company said.

The coronavirus outbreak has led to restrictions on non-essential medical procedures as governments and hospitals mobilize staff and resources to support COVID-19 patients.

AbbVie said its total sales for the quarter ended March 31 were also slightly boosted by customers stockpiling its treatments because of the pandemic.

The drugmaker, which is expected to close its $63 billion acquisition of Botox-maker Allergan Plc later this month, has been launching new drugs to offset some of the expected drop in Humira sales, whose U.S. patent is set to expire in 2023.

Sales of Humira, the world’s best selling drug, rose 13.7% in the United States, but fell 14.9% in international markets.

Overall, the drug’s sales rose 5.8% to $4.70 billion, beating estimates of $4.42 billion, according to seven analysts polled by Refinitiv.

Sales of new plaque psoriasis drug, Skyrizi, was $300 million, above analysts’ estimates of $259.7 million.

AbbVie’s total sales rose 10.1% to $8.62 billion in the first quarter, beating analysts’ estimates of $8.33 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Profit rose to $3.01 billion, or $2.02 per share, from $2.45 billion, or $1.65 per share, a year earlier. (Reporting by Manas Mishra and Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)