Pfizer revenue falls 9 percent, but net income rises with help from sale of Chinese joint venture

Drugmaker Pfizer reported that generic competition was a key factor its a 9 percent decline in worldwide sales revenue in the first quarter of 2013 compared to a year earlier, but its net income rose 53 percent in part because it sold its minority stake in a Chinese joint venture.

Pfizer is based in Manhattan, but has a big operation in Collegeville, Montgomery County.

Selling a stake is a one-time gain, but generic competition is increasing, which is part of why Pfizer lowered its projected earnings for the rest of 2013.

Pfizer said its sales revenue for the quarter was $13.5 billion versus $14.9 billion in the same period of 2012, a decline of 9 percent. In a statement, the company noted declines in sales of its antipsychotic drug Geodon and its cholesterol drug Lipitor. Lipitor once was the best selling prescription drug in the world, but its U.S. patent expired in November 2011.

Pfizer's net income was $2.75 billion in the first quarter compared to $1.79 billion in the same period in 2012. Some of the difference came from the $490 million Pfizer got for selling its 49 percent interest in Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceuticals, known in China as Hisun.

Another complicating factor in assessing the the quarter is that Pfizer partially spun off 19.8 percent of its animal health unit, called Zoetis.

"We are clearly seeing the benefits of the investments we’ve been making in our innovative core, as evidenced by recent key product launches, including Eliquis, Xeljanz and various oncology products, as well as significant progress within our mid-to-late stage product pipeline," Pfizer chief executive officer Ian Read said in a statement. "Additionally, I am very pleased with the successful completion of the Zoetis IPO and a related debt offering, and with the value these actions have created thus far for Pfizer’s shareholders. We remain focused on driving innovation and managing the business in the context of the challenging operating environment to ensure Pfizer remains well-positioned for long-term value creation, all in the best interests of our shareholders.”

The Pfizer statement with number is here.