Pfizer has cut its earnings forecast for 2012 after posting disappointing sales for the first quarter, hit by loss of exclusivity on the cholesterol drug Lipitor and a weak performance from the pneumococcal disease vaccine Prevnar 13.

Net income came in at $2.75 billion, compared with $1.97 billion in the like, year-earlier period, the latter being hurt by charges. Group turnover was $13.50 billion, down 9%.

Sales of the cholesterol lowerer Lipitor (atorvastatin) sank 55% to $626 million, but more surprisingly Prevnar was down 10% to $846 million, which Pfizer says is due to the impact of purchasing patterns, primarily within the emerging markets. The blood pressure treatment Norvasc (amlodipine) fell 10% to $301 million, while the glaucoma drug Xalatan (latanoprost) slumped 35% to $147 million. The erectile dysfunction blockbuster Viagra (sildenafil) brought in $461 million, down 7%.

On the positive front, Lyrica (pregabalin), for epilepsy, fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain, which is Pfizer's best-selling drug, increased 12% to $1.07 billion, while the kidney cancer treatment Sutent (sunitinib) inched up 1% to $302 million. The COX-2 inhibitor Celebrex (celecoxib) rose 3% to $653 million.

The arthritis and psoriasis therapy Enbrel (etanercept) brought in $877 million outside North America (-2%), while the Premarin (conjugated oestrogens) range of hormone replacement therapies contributed $244 million to Pfizer’s coffers, a decrease of 8%.

In terms of new products, Inlyta (axitinib) for advanced renal cell carcinoma brought in $63 million, while sales of Xalkori (critzotinib) for advanced non-small cell lung cancer reached $53 million, up from $17 million in the like, year-earlier period. For the full year, Pfizer says said it expected full-year earnings of $2.14-$2.24 per share, down from its previous forecast of $2.20-$2.30.

Chief executive Ian Read said that "we are clearly seeing the benefits of the investments we’ve been making in our innovative core", as evidenced by recent launches for the stroke drug Eliquis (apixaban), the rheumatoid arthritis therapy Xeljanz (tofacitinib) "and various oncology products". He added that the firm is making "significant progress within our mid-to-late stage product pipeline", most notably the breast cancer drug palbociclib.