Pfizer Raises Sales Outlook
As Annual Lipitor Sales Decline
By PETER LOFTUS
January 23, 2008 10:57 a.m.
Pfizer Inc. said Wednesday its fourth-quarter net income dropped 70% from a year-earlier period that had a large asset-sale gain, while the company's top drug, Lipitor, posted its first yearly sales decline.
Pfizer's adjusted earnings and sales, however, exceeded Wall Street expectations, as did the drug maker's revised forecast for full-year 2008 results. The New York company said cost cuts, favorable foreign exchange rates and rising sales of newer products were bolstering results.
"It looks like the upside was driven primarily by revenues and international strength," said Edward Jones analyst Linda Bannister.
Still, serious challenges remain for Pfizer, including recent and impending losses of U.S. market exclusivity for top drugs. At the end of this month, Pfizer will no longer sell Zyrtec allergy medicine, which accounted for $1.5 billion in sales last year. Johnson & Johnson will commence selling an over-the-counter version of Zyrtec.
01/17/08What's more, Pfizer's late-stage pipeline of experimental drugs doesn't appear strong enough to replace lost revenue in the near term. Pfizer shares have fallen 17% over the past 52 weeks, lagging the 11.1% drop in the Amex Pharmaceutical Index.
Pfizer shares recently changed hands at $22.35, up 12 cents on a day when many stocks were in the red.
For the three months ended Dec. 31, the world's largest drug maker by sales recorded net income of $2.88 billion, or 42 cents a share, down from $9.45 billion, or $1.32 a share, a year earlier. The latest quarter included purchase-accounting adjustments, restructuring charges and other items. The year-earlier period included a $7.9 billion gain from the sale of its consumer health care unit to J&J, and other items.
Excluding one-time items in both periods, Pfizer said per-share earnings rose to 52 cents from 43 cents.
Fourth-quarter sales rose 4% to $13.1 billion from $12.6 billion.
The mean estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial was for earnings of 47 cents a share on revenue of $12.2 billion.
Favorable currency exchange rates boosted fourth-quarter revenue by about $610 million, or 5%, Pfizer said. Exchange rates have helped the results of other U.S.-based multinationals, and particularly in the drug industry, as J&J's fourth-quarter numbers showed Tuesday.
Total pharmaceutical sales rose 2% to $11.9 billion. Sales growth was mitigated by the loss of exclusivity for anti-hypertension drug Norvasc and antidepressant Zoloft.
Worldwide sales of anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor, which is the best-selling prescription drug in the world, rose 3% to $3.4 billion. U.S. Lipitor sales fell 4%, but that was offset by a 13% increase in non-U.S. sales of the drug. The fourth-quarter Lipitor sales appeared to exceed analysts' expectations.
But for all of 2007, Lipitor sales declined 2% to $12.7 billion, marking the first yearly drop in the drug's revenue since it went on sale in the 1990s. Lipitor is facing intense competition in the cholesterol market, including from cheaper generic drugs.
Fourth-quarter sales of arthritis drug Celebrex rose 18% to $637 million, continuing a rebound from a decline in 2005 amid concerns about the safety of the drug category to which it belongs. Sales of another top product, Viagra for erectile dysfunction, rose 10% to $498 million.
Newer products helped Pfizer's fourth quarter. Sales of anti-smoking drug Chantix, which went on sale in 2006, more than quadrupled to $280 million. The drug is called Champix overseas. The drug posted a gain despite recent concerns about potential behavioral side effects. Last week, Pfizer said it updated Chantix's product label to warn that users should be observed for "neuropsychiatric symptoms, including changes in behavior, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior."
Also showing a strong quarterly gain was Lyrica, a treatment for nerve pain. Sales rose 60% to $564 million. Pfizer recently launched television advertisements promoting Lyrica as a treatment for a condition known as fibromyalgia.
For 2008, Pfizer expects to earn $1.78 to $1.93 a share, compared with $2.66 a share in 2007. Excluding certain items, Pfizer sees 2008 earnings of $2.35 to $2.45 a share, versus $2.20 a share in 2007 calculated on the same basis. Pfizer had previously predicted 2008 adjusted earnings ranging from $2.31 to $2.45 a share. The Thomson Financial mean estimate is $2.34 a share.
Pfizer boosted its 2008 revenue forecast to a range of $47 billion to $49 billion, from a previous forecast of $46.5 billion to $48.5 billion. Pfizer had $48.6 billion in revenue in 2007. The Thomson Financial estimate for 2008 is $47.1 billion.
Pfizer has previously said it didn't expect to resume top-line growth until 2009, when new drugs from its development pipeline are expected to pick up the slack from earlier blockbusters whose patents have expired.
作者:admin@医学,生命科学 2011-04-15 17:14