Pfizer sales fall on loss of drug exclusivity

Revenue in the Upjohn unit, which includes anti-impotence pill Viagra, fell 32%

Pfizer Inc. reported lower quarterly sales as the company lost U.S. market exclusivity for its blockbuster pain drug Lyrica in 2019.

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The New York drugmaker on Tuesday posted $12.69 billion in fourth-quarter sales, meeting expectations of analysts polled by FactSet. It had $13.98 billion in sales in the prior year.

Sales in its Upjohn unit, which includes Lyrica and anti-impotence pill Viagra, declined 32 percent to $2.16 billion for the quarter. Pfizer’s Upjohn business is combining with Mylan NV, forming a new pharmaceutical company to be called Viatris. The combination is expected to close in mid-2020.

To offset the effect of declining sales of its off-patent drugs, Pfizer has been reshaping itself, betting its laboratories can develop new drugs that will boost sales, and jettisoning both slower-growing businesses selling drugs facing generic competition and consumer products.

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Sales in the company’s biopharmaceutical segment rose 7 percent to $10.53 billion, driven by gains in key drugs such as the blood thinner Eliquis and breast-cancer drug Ibrance.

Pfizer shares fell 0.9 percent in premarket trading.

The company recorded a net loss of $337 million, or 6 cents a share, compared with a loss of $394 million, or 7 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

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Excluding one-time items, the company reported earnings of 55 cents a share, missing the 58 cents a share analysts were expecting.

Pfizer spent $2.82 billion on research and development in the quarter, up 15 percent from the same period a year earlier.

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For 2020, Pfizer targets adjusted earnings of $2.82 to $2.92 a share on revenue of $48.5 billion to $50.5 billion. Reflecting Upjohn’s coming combination with Mylan, Pfizer sees adjusted earnings of $2.25 a share to $2.35 a share on revenue of $40.7 billion to $42.3 billion.