fizer has posted financials for the first quarter which reveal a 2% slip in net income, while revenues were down 8%, hit by declining sales of cholesterol blockbuster Lipitor and the smoking cessation drug Chantix.
Net profit came in at $2.73 billion, while group turnover was $10.87 billion, hit by unfavourable currency exchanges which impacted revenues by 5%. Pharmaceutical sales declined 7 to $10.10 billion, as Lipitor (atorvastatin) sank 13% to $3.95 billion.
The decrease was principally due to a continuing fight for market share with similar therapies, notably the generic version of Merck & Co’s rival statin Zocor (simvastatin). Generic competition has wiped out sales of the antihistamine Zyrtec (cetirizine), while the colorectal cancer drug Camptosar (irinotecan) suffered a fall of 43% to $109 million and the blood pressure treatment Norvasc (amlodipine) was down 6% to $481 million.
Sales of Chantix/Champix (varenicline) fell 36% to $177 million, amid continuing safety concerns and changes to the label, while the COX-2 inhibitor Celebrex (celecoxib) fell 8% to $564 million.
Still there was much to pleased about, notably sales of Lyrica (pregabalin), for epilepsy, fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain, which jumped 17% to $684 million. The kidney cancer treatment Sutent (sunitinib) climbed 7% to $202 million, while the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra (sildenafil) is still riding high, though sales did dip 1% to $454 million.
Most of the focus at Pfizer now, however, is on its merger with Wyeth and chief executive Jeffrey Kindler said that during the quarter, “we continued our ongoing efforts to reshape our operating model, made substantial progress in planning for the Wyeth integration, and faced a challenging and dynamic economic and competitive environment”.
The response from analysts was positive and Jami Rubin at Goldman Sachs issued a note saying that Pfizer has enjoyed a solid quarter. He added that “the earnings beat is encouraging”, especially on the heels of rival Merck & Co posting a 56% decline in earnings last week.