Pfizer Revenue Falls as Drugs Lose Exclusivity -- Update

By Austen Hufford Features Dow Jones Newswires

Pfizer Inc. Tuesday said revenue fell in its latest quarter as some legacy drugs lost market exclusivity.

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Shares of the company are down 1.1% in premarket trading.

Pfizer said revenue in its essential health unit, which includes the antidepressant Pristiq and anti-epileptic drug Lyrica, fell 10% in the first quarter from a year earlier. Pristiq lost marketing exclusivity in the U.S. during the quarter while Lyrica and bacterial infection treatment Zyvox have been dealing with generic competition in the last few years in major markets globally.

Sales of its innovative health unit rose 5.4% driven by growth from drugs including cancer drug Ibrance, which increased 58%, and blood clot treatment Eliquis.

Total Viagra revenue fell 14% to $339 million. Lipitor revenue, meanwhile, fell 2% to $404 million.

In all for its first quarter, Pfizer reported a profit of $3.12 billion, or 51 cents a share, up from $3.04 billion, or 49 cents a share, a year prior.

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On an adjusted basis, earnings were 69 cents a share, up from 67 cents. Revenue fell 1.7% to $12.78 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast adjusted earnings of 67 cents a share on revenue of $13.09 billion.

Pfizer also reaffirmed its guidance for the year, expecting full-year revenue between $52 billion and $54 billion and adjusted earnings between $2.50 to $2.60 a share.

Write to Austen Hufford at austen.hufford@wsj.com

Pfizer Inc. Tuesday said revenue fell 2% in its latest quarter to $12.78 billion as some of the company's legacy drugs lost patent protection in various key markets, though executives also blamed one-time factors and voiced optimism about prospects for the year.

Pfizer's revenue got a bump from newer products like lung-cancer drug Ibrance and blood-thinner Eliquis, whose sales rose more than 50% each. But such gains weren't enough to make up for declining revenue from old workhorses such as the antidepressant Pristiq, which lost marketing exclusivity and started facing generic competition in the U.S. during the quarter.

Also hurting Pfizer's performance was an 8% drop in world-wide sales of the company's top-selling product, the Prevnar pneumonia vaccine, to $1.4 billion because many elderly patients have already been vaccinated.

Executives said Pfizer revenue came up $300 million short due to fewer selling days in the quarter. The year-over-year comparison was also hurt, executives said, by the sale of one of the businesses acquired when Pfizer bought Hospira in 2015.

"We are really looking forward to the rest of the year. Our business is strong," Pfizer CEO Ian Read said during a conference call with analysts and investors.

Mr. Read pointed to a number of promising drugs in development that could eventually boost sales. Pfizer is making a priority of boosting sales of its existing products, he said.

Pfizer executive Albert Bourla, who runs the unit that sells Pfizer's patent-protected drugs, said the company is trying to enlarge the number of doctors prescribing prostate-cancer drug Xtandi and broaden its use.

Sales of Xtandi, which New York-based Pfizer bought last year, were hurt in the U.S. in the quarter by reimbursement pressures, though demand for the drug rose, Dr. Bourla said. "Today Xtandi is performing below our expectations in the U.S.," he said.

Pfizer shares fell 1.6% in trading on the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday morning.

In all for its first quarter, Pfizer reported a profit of $3.12 billion, or 51 cents a share, up from $3.04 billion, or 49 cents a share, a year prior.

On an adjusted basis, earnings were 69 cents a share, up from 67 cents. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast adjusted earnings of 67 cents a share on revenue of $13.09 billion.

Pfizer also reaffirmed its guidance for the year, expecting full-year revenue between $52 billion and $54 billion and adjusted earnings between $2.50 to $2.60 a share.

Write to Jonathan D. Rockoff at Jonathan.Rockoff@wsj.com and Austen Hufford at austen.hufford@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 02, 2017 11:29 ET (15:29 GMT)