Pfizer Profit Dips 2 Percent, Sales Fall Much More

Tue, 04/28/2009 - 4:44am
LINDA A. JOHNSON AP Business Writer TRENTON, New Jersey (AP) — Pfizer Inc. posted a 2 percent drop in first-quarter profit Tuesday, as cost-cutting by the world's largest drugmaker couldn't offset big drops in sales for several medicines, especially a big drop for the cholesterol fighter Lipitor. The maker of impotence treatment Viagra and stop-smoking drug Chantix also took a large charge for its pending acquisition of rival Wyeth. New York-based Pfizer said it had net income of $2.73 billion, or 40 cents per share, in the first quarter. A year ago, it reported net income of $2.78 billion, or 41 cents per share. Excluding charges, Pfizer's earnings per share were 54 cents., topping analyst estimates of 49 cents. Revenue totaled $10.9 billion, down 8 percent from $11.8 billion in the first quarter of 2007. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected slightly higher revenue, at $11.1 billion. Sales of Pfizer's prescription drugs in the U.S. dropped 10 percent, while foreign sales were down 7 percent, hurt by the stronger dollar as well as the global recession. Increased competition hurt Lipitor, the world's top-selling drug, with sales dropping 13 percent to $2.7 billion in the quarter. Concerns about dangerous side effects cut sales of smoking cessation drug Chantix by 36 percent, to $177 million. Sales were down by double digits for anti-anxiety drug Xanax, antifungal treatment Diflucan, Neurontin for nerve pain and epilepsy, and Pfizer's portfolio of cancer drugs — partly due to new generic competition for colon cancer treatment Camptosar. The few strong performers included heavily promoted fibromyalgia and nerve pain treatment Lyrica, up 17 percent to $684 million, and antibiotic Zyvox, up 9 percent to $283 million. "During the quarter, we continued our ongoing efforts to reshape our operating model, made substantial progress in planning for the Wyeth integration, and faced a challenging and dynamic economic and competitive environment," Chief Executive Jeff Kindler said in a statement. "We remain on track to deliver on our full-year 2009 guidance for revenues and adjusted results." Pfizer reiterated its January financial forecast, saying it expects earnings per share of $1.20 to $1.35 — or $1.85 to $1.95 a share excluding one-time items. The company expects revenue to range between $44 billion and $46 billion.

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