The world’s largest pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, reported a healthy 21% increase in net income for the second quarter of the year to $3.5 billion dollars as the company benefited from more than $1 billion in special gains and tax adjustments during the quarter.
On closer inspection, the figures prove to be somewhat of a disappointment with income dropping 5% during the quarter to $3.4 billion if these items are excluded. And sales only managed a 1% increase over the corresponding period last year to $12.4 billion [[22/07/04b]], as the company’s epilepsy drug, Neurontin (gabapentin), succumbed to generic competition, and saw sales drop 79% to $161 million [[19/08/04d]]. The force of generic competition was also felt by the anti-fungal, Diflucan (fluconazole), which dipped 55% to $129 million and the high blood pressure medicine, Accupril (quinapril) – down 53% to $73 million. The impotence drug, Viagra (sildenafil), is also feeling the heat of heightened competition from Bayer/GlaxoSmithKLine’s Levitra (vardenafil) and Eli Lilly’s Cialis (tadalafil), and sales rose just 1% to $391 million. Pfizer was also hit by declining sales of its Celebrex (celecoxib) painkiller, which witnessed a 45% slump in sales to $401 million on the back of heightened safety concerns triggered by the withdrawal of Merck & Co’s Vioxx (rofecoxib) [[01/10/04a]]. However, it was not all doom and gloom, as the company’s lipid-lowerer, Lipitor (atorvastatin), further cemented its position as the world’s top-selling drug, with revenues jumping 15% to $2.9 billion.
Pfizer, which is introducing a number of cost-cutting measures in a bid to save $4 billion by 2008 [[06/04/05a]], is standing by its earnings per share forecast for 2005 of around $1.98, down on the $2.12 recorded last year, as a result of the strengthening US dollar, continued generic competition to several key drugs, and the recent high-profile withdrawal of the COX-2 inhibitor, Bextra (valdecoxib) [[08/04/05a]]. This is expected to be followed by double-digit growth in 2006 and 2007.