Friday, September 19, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Pfizer profit down 15% from generic competition

Also, some promotion partnerships ended. Shares fell 3% as revenue goals were missed.

Despite sharply lower expenses and taxes, Pfizer Inc.'s first-quarter profit dropped 15 percent, due to cheaper generic competition for multiple medicines and the ending of some promotion partnerships with other drugmakers.

The world's second-biggest drugmaker missed Wall Street's revenue expectations by $730 million, but narrowly beat profit expectations. Its shares fell almost 3 percent in afternoon trading.

The New York-based company has seen its revenue shrink since 2011 as inexpensive copycat pills hurt sales of about 20 off-patent drugs that once brought in billions annually, particularly the cholesterol fighter Lipitor, the top-selling drug of all time, with peak revenue of nearly $13 billion.

According to Pfizer, "the vast majority" of generic competition will be over by the end of 2015.

Meanwhile, Pfizer said it was reviewing its options after British rival AstraZeneca P.L.C. on Friday rejected Pfizer's third acquisition proposal, this one for about $106 billion. Pfizer has been trying since January to get AstraZeneca to discuss a deal that would include Pfizer's moving its official domicile - but not its corporate offices - to London, a move that would reduce Pfizer's income tax rate. Both companies have significant operations in the Philadelphia area.

The maker of Viagra said net income was $2.33 billion, or 36 cents per share, for January through March, down from $2.75 billion, or 38 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time charges, income was 57 cents per share, two cents less than analysts expected.

Revenue totaled $11.35 billion, down 9 percent. Analysts expected $12.08 billion.

Among Pfizer's top sellers, sales rose 8 percent to $1.15 billion for pain and fibromyalgia treatment Lyrica and 4 percent to $914 million for immune disorder drug Enbrel. Sales of pneumonia vaccine Prevnar were flat at $927 million, while key newer medicines - rheumatoid arthritis pill Xeljanz and cancer drugs Xalkori and Inlyta - remain disappointing at less than $100 million in the quarter.

"Our new products are just beginning to rev up," chief financial officer Frank D'Amelio said. "The business will pick up."

Pfizer confirmed its 2014 adjusted profit forecast for earnings per share of $2.20 to $2.30 and revenue of $49.2 billion to $52.3 billion. Shares fell 79 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $29.96.

Linda A. Johnson Associated Press
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