Pfizer has just reported a 7% increase in sales for the third quarter while net income came in at $3.74 billion, up from $866 million.

Turnover came in at $17.19 billion, driven mainly by the impact of foreign exchange (+6%). Biopharmaceutical sales rose 6% to $14.75 billion, driven by the cholesterol blockbuster Lipitor (atorvastatin) which slipped 2% to $2.60 billion, hit by competition from other statins and the loss of patent protection in certain countries, such as Canada and Spain.

The blood pressure treatment Norvasc (amlodipine) rose 6% to $350 million, while the COX-2 inhibitor Celebrex (celecoxib) was up 11% to $643 million. The erectile dysfunction blockbuster Viagra (sildenafil) brought in $493 million, up 7%, though the glaucoma drug Xalatan (latanoprost) fell 40% to $277 million (-35%).

Sales of Lyrica (pregabalin), for epilepsy, fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain, increased 27% to $961 million, while the kidney cancer treatment Sutent (sunitinib) was up 16% to $298 million. The smoking cessation drug Chantix/Champix (varenicline) slipped 4% to $156 million.

Prevnar 13 sales soar

__As for products Pfizer got hold of through its acquisition of Wyeth, the most impressive performance came from the pneumococcal disease vaccine Prevnar/Prevenar 13, which rose 37% to top $1 billion. The arthritis and psoriasis therapy Enbrel (etanercept) brought in $957 million outside North America (+20%), while the antidepressant Effexor XR (venlafaxine) fell 6% to $165 million. Wyeth’s antibiotic Zosyn/Tazocin (piperacillin/tazobactam) brought in $149 million, down 42%, while the Premarin (conjugated oestrogens) range of hormone replacement therapies contributed $267 million to Pfizer’s coffers, an increase of 2%.

Chief executive Ian Read said the performance was good, "despite the impact of product losses of exclusivity totalling approximately $950 million this quarter and the challenges posed by current global market and economic conditions". He noted that Pfizer is doing well in the emerging markets and Japan.

Mr Read added that "I am also happy with the strong performance of the Lipitor franchise and our ability to continue to maximise the value of this brand prior to its loss of exclusivity in the USA", which happens later this month. He claimed that Pfizer remains "well prepared" for the Lipitor loss in the USA and in various other countries shortly thereafter.