US drug giant Pfizer has posted a strong set of results for the second quarter which shows that earnings more than doubled, thanks to healthy international sales and the positive impact of its cost-cutting measures.

Net income was up 119% to $2.78 billion while revenues increased 9% to $12.13 billion. Pharmaceutical sales were also up 9% to $11.05 billion, boosted by Pfizer’s blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor (atorvastatin) which grew 9% to $2.98 billion.

Turnover of Lyrica (pregabalin), for epilepsy and neuropathic pain, rocketed 52% to $614 million, though the smoking cessation drug Chantix/Champix (varenicline) disappointed somewhat. Its sales were up just 3% to $207 million, and US revenues of the product dropped 35% in the quarter to $109 million, amid safety concerns.

The kidney cancer treatment Sutent (sunitinib) climbed 45% to $211 million, while ten years since launch the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra (sildenafil) keeps rising, with sales up 21% to $463 million. The COX-2 inhibitor Celebrex (celecoxib) climbed 23% at $589 million.

These rises offset the revenue decline that generic competition inflicted on the antihistamine Zyrtec (cetirizine), which collapsed 98% to just $8 million. The loss of patent protection also hurt colorectal cancer drug Camptosar (irinotecan), down 43% to $137 million.

Chief executive Jeff Kindler said many of the firm’s key products continued to perform well both in the USA and international markets, and he was particularly pleased with the sales of Lipitor “in the face of a highly competitive statin market”. He added that “the benefit of our broad-based portfolio of products, our geographic reach and our diverse strategies for growth was evident in this quarter…which clearly demonstrate our ability to continue to deliver solid performance in an increasingly challenging environment.”

Barbara Ryan, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, issued a research note saying that "recent actions to significantly reduce corporate overhead” are clearly a positive “but need to be followed by strategic initiatives, namely acquisitions, which could lead to longer-term visibility." Pfizer concluded by saying that it is on track to meet its cost-reduction target of at least $1.5-$2 billion compared with 2006 by the end of the year.