Pfizer’s Sales Hurt by Generic Competition

Michael Teague  |

Shares for drug manufacturer Pfizer (PFE) were down 3.32 percent on Monday to $29.42 as its earnings report indicated that while net income for the first quarter of 2013 was up over 50 percent, figures were still short of expectations and the company cut its forecast for the rest of the year.

During the first quarter, Pfizer’s net income was $2.75 billion, or $0.38 per share, on revenue of $13.5 billion, versus the prior year period during which net income was $1.79 billion, or $0.28 per share on revenue of $14.89 billion.

Without one-time items, net income came in at $0.54 per share, a cent less than the average analyst forecast. Despite a $490 million gain from a joint venture in China, the company said profits were hampered by unfavorable exchange rates, as well as increased competition from the loss of copyright protection on a number of its extremely popular products.

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Pfizer continues to feel the hit from drastically lower sales of its former world best-selling cholesterol drug Lipitor, whose patent lapsed in 2011. While Lipitor used to be the source of some $13 billion annually in sales, the company made only $626 million on the drug during the first quarter.

Almost a dozen other of the company’s popular drugs were hurt by worse sales due to competition from generics, including the schizophrenia treatment Geodon.

Sales for other drugs for which the company still holds patents, such as Viagra and Prevnar 13, the ear infection vaccination, were also down 7 and 10 percent respectively.

The company lowered its forecast for the year for earnings to a range of $2.14 to $2.24 per share on revenues of $55.3 to $57.3, down from the previous forecast of $2.20 to $2.30 per share on revenue of $56.2 to $58.2 billion.

Meanwhile, Pfizer did have some positive numbers to highlight, in the form of a 5 percent increase in revenue from emerging markets, to a total of $2.4 billion, as well as a 12 percent increase in consumer healthcare revenue to $811 million.

Additionally, the company continues to cut costs, with selling, informational and administrative expenses down 11 percent, and said it expects sales of Prevnar to pick up later in the year. Pfizer also said it would spend three years to decide whether it will split its company between patented and generic businesses.

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