Pfizer sales lag, hurt by dollar and generic Lipitor

By Ransdell Pierson

NEW YORK (BestGrowthStock) – Pfizer Inc reported sales far below Wall Street forecasts on Tuesday, hurt by a stronger dollar, generic competition internationally for cholesterol drug Lipitor and weak revenue in emerging markets.

Pfizer, the last of the large U.S. drugmakers to report third-quarter earnings, followed the example of most rivals with higher-than-expected profits — largely resulting from cost cuts — but disappointing sales.

The world’s largest drugmaker, which merged in October with Wyeth, earned $866 million, or 11 cents per share, compared with $2.88 billion, or 43 cents, in the year-earlier period.

Excluding merger costs and other special items, Pfizer (PFE.N: ) earned 54 cents per share. Analysts on average expected 51 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Results were hurt by a $701 million charge in the quarter for asbestos litigation, related to its Quigley Co subsidiary.

Global sales rose 39 percent to $16.17 billion, swelled by the addition of Wyeth products, but would have risen 40 percent if not for the stronger dollar, which lowers the value of sales in overseas markets.

Sales lagged the consensus Wall Street forecast of $16.68 billion — in contrast to the second quarter, when sales trounced analyst estimates due largely to a weaker dollar.

Global sales of Lipitor, the world’s biggest selling medicine, fell 11 percent to $2.53 billion. Pfizer said the arrival in recent months of Lipitor generics in Canada and Spain hurt its flagship product.

The bigger threat comes in November 2011, when Lipitor loses U.S. marketing exclusivity. Pfizer bought Wyeth and its medicine chest, including lucrative biotech medicines, mainly to replace vanishing Lipitor revenue.

Pfizer is counting heavily on sales from fast-growing emerging markets to bolster results in coming years. But sales of Pfizer’s products in those markets, excluding the Wyeth brands, were essentially flat in the quarter.

(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Derek Caney and Maureen Bavdek)

Pfizer sales lag, hurt by dollar and generic Lipitor