Pfizer shrugged off the impact of generic competition to some of its leading and posted an increase in revenues of 2% to $11.74 billion in the second quarter, helped by a better-than-expected performance from its number one product Lipitor.And the company reiterated that its 2006 profit forecast of $2 per share, despite the sale of its Consumer Healthcare business which had been expected to contribute around 7 cents to the tally, as well as the expected impact on Lipitor (atorvastatin) sales of the launch of generic version of rival cholesterol drug Zocor (simvastatin) from Merck & Co.Second-quarter net income came in right in line with this forecast at $2.41 billion, or 50 cents a share, down from $3.46 billion a year ago, although Pfizer said the earlier result had been flattered by tax gains.Lipitor sales were up 9% to $3.1 billion, showing remarkable resilience to generic simvastatin, but was also helped by the US government’s new Medicare Part D programme aimed to help seniors get access to subsidised prescription drugs. The company is hoping to continue to drive Lipitor sales to $13 billion this year, although Karen Katen, president of Pfizer human health, acknowledged this will be a ‘stretch goal’.That said, Pfizer is counting down to the expected approval in the USA next year of its combination product based on Lipitor and torcetrapib, which should raise the efficacy bar for cholesterol-lowering treatments and offset the braking effect of low-cost generic statins on its cholesterol franchise.Among Pfizer’s other major brands, the arthritis drug Celebrex (celecoxib) continued to make gains, up 17% to $471 million in the second quarter despite the ongoing concerns about the safety of drugs in the COX-2 inhibitor class, although there were falls-off in sales of antibiotic Zithromax (azithromycin) and antidepressant Zoloft (sertraline) due to competition, down 61% to $166 million and 11% to $706 million, respectively.Katen said some of the firm’s new-generation of products perfroemd well. For example, Lyrica (pregabalin) sales reached $271 million in the second quarter, with a near 10% share in the epilepsy market, while cancer drug Sutent (sunitinib) got off the mark with a first half contribution of $52 million since its US launch in January.Exubera launch held backMeanwhile, Pfizer also said that there would be a short delay in the US launch of its inhaled insulin product Exubera for diabetes, from July to September, to make sure the launch was carried out as effectively as possible. It is already available in Germany and Ireland.The company is making sure that it can offer a comprehensive educational programme for the drug to doctors, pharmacists and patients to make sure that the drug is used most effectively when it reaches the market. Start kits will be sent out to selected US physicians next week.The company also said that it smoking cessation product Chantix (varenicline) would be available next week, following its May approval in the USA. It was filed in Europe last November. However, there will be slight delay to its new antibiotic Zeven (dalbavancin), with a verdict from the FDA now expected in 2007 after the agency sent Pfizer an ‘approvable’ letter last month.Top Pfizer products by 1H06 sales

  1. Lipitor $6.23bn +3%
  2. Norvasc $2.34bn -
  3. Zoloft $1.49bn -9%
  4. Celebrex $962m +18%
  5. Zyrtec/Zyrtec D $798m +15%
  6. Viagra $784m -5%
  7. Xalatan/Xalacom $688m +2%
  8. Detrol/Detrol LA $515m +9%
  9. Lyrica $463m +58%
  10. Camptosar $450m +1%
  11. Zithromax/Zmax $425m -65%
re>Source: Pfizer