Pfizer has reported a major rise in sales for the third quarter, despite disappointing performances from Lipitor and Effexor, but charges from the Wyeth acquisition pushed the drug giant’s earnings down 70%.

Net profit came in at $866 million, and the figures included an impairment charge of $1.5 billion related to certain intangible assets connected to the Wyeth buy. Turnover came in at $16.17 billion, an increase of 39% but below analyst estimates, and 44% of that rise was due to Wyeth products. Sales of Pfizer’s own products actually slipped 4%.

Biopharmaceutical sales leapt 31% to $13.95 billion but revenues from the cholesterol blockbuster Lipitor (atorvastatin) fell 11% to $2.53 billion, hit by competition from other statins and the loss of patent protection in Canada and Spain. Generic competition also hurt the blood pressure treatment Norvasc (amlodipine), which fell 32% to $368 million, while the COX-2 inhibitor Celebrex (celecoxib) fell 4% to $578 million. The erectile dysfunction blockbuster Viagra (sildenafil) brought in $459 million, down 2%, while the glaucoma drug Xalatan (latanoprost) had sales of $416 million (-5%).

On the positive side, sales of Lyrica (pregabalin), for epilepsy, fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain, increased 7% to $757 million, while the kidney cancer treatment Sutent (sunitinib) was up 4% to $257 million. The smoking cessation drug Chantix/Champix (varenicline) rose 5% to $163 million.

As for Wyeth products, the antidepressant Effexor (venlafaxine) contributed just $175 million, battered by generic competition, though there were strong performances for the pneumococcal disease vaccine Prevnar franchise ($975 million) and the arthritis and psoriasis therapy Enbrel (etanercept; $799 million outside North America). Wyeth’s antibiotic Zosyn/Tazocin (piperacillin/tazobactam) brought in $255 million, while the Premarin (conjugated oestrogens) range of hormone replacement therapies contributed $263 million to Pfizer’s coffers. The antiulcerant Protonix had sales of $203 million.

Pfizer’s new ‘diversified’ division, which includes animal and consumer health products, plus nutritional items and Capsugel, which Pfizer is thinking of selling off, saw revenues climb 151% to $2.15 billion.

Chief executive Jeff Kindler, noting that it has been just over a year since the closing of the Wyeth acquisition, said he is "particularly pleased with the speed of the integration, the cost synergies achieved to date [and] our solid financial performance this quarter and year-to-date in this difficult economic environment". He added that Pfizer continues to "carefully evaluate and make prudent capital allocation decisions", highlighting its pending acquisition of King Pharmaceuticals and purchase of FoldRx, a diabetes biosimilars alliance with Biocon and a pact with Brazil's Laboratorio Teuto Brasileiro.

Frank D'Amelio, the firm's chief financial officer, said earnings per share guidance for 2010 has been upped to $2.17-$2.22 from a range of $2.10-$2.20.  For 2012, EPS excluding items should be $2.25-$2.35.