Key drug sales push Pfizer profit up 50 percent

August 1, 2017 by Linda A. Johnson
This Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, file photo, shows the Pfizer logo on display at the company's world headquarters in New York. Pfizer Inc. (PFE) on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, reported second-quarter profit of $3.07 billion. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Rising sales of most key drugs, lower one-time charges and reduced manufacturing costs helped drive Pfizer's second-quarter profit up 50 percent.

The top U.S. drugmaker beat Wall Street profit forecasts, tweaked its own 2017 forecast, and predicted numerous lucrative drugs will be approved over the next half-decade. Still, cheaper generic competition continues to gnaw away at Pfizer's revenue, which fell short of analyst expectations.

Meanwhile, CEO Ian Read told analysts during a conference call Tuesday that Pfizer is avoiding any big acquisitions—long its chief growth strategy—as it waits for the administration and Congress to enact tax reform. He said that would affect the valuation of assets at Pfizer and potential purchase targets.

The Viagra maker reported quarterly profit of $3.07 billion, or 51 cents per share, up from $2.05 billion, or 33 cents per share, a year earlier. Adjusted income of 67 cents per share beat analysts' average estimate by two cents.

The New York drugmaker posted revenue of $12.9 billion, down 2 percent and below forecasts for $13.02 billion.

Top sellers including new breast cancer drug Ibrance and blood thinner Eliquis produced higher sales, helping lift revenue from Pfizer's patented-protected drugs by 8 percent, to $7.67 billion. Pfizer's essential health segment, which sells older products that are mostly off patent, had sales drop 14 percent to $5.23 billion.

Their sales were led by Lipitor, the cholesterol-fighting pill that reigned as the world's top seller for a decade. Nearly six years after getting generic competition, Lipitor still ranks No. 7 in sales, at $445 million in the quarter, partly because a few newer drugs have produced lower-than-expected sales.

Some new medicines are coming, though. In May, Bavencio got U.S. approval for treating advanced bladder cancer, and Pfizer's drug for a type of leukemia could get approved this month. But new eczema treatment Eucrisa, approved in February, managed only $9 million in second-quarter sales.

Over the next five years, Pfizer expects to win approvals for up to 18 new drugs and a half-dozen "biosimilars," near-generic versions of complex injected drugs manufactured inside cells. However, Pfizer's first approved biosimilar—Inflectra, a near-copy of blockbuster immune disorder drug Remicade launched in November—had only $94 million in second-quarter sales. Pfizer executives said it only has a 2 percent market share as commercial insurers mainly are sticking with Remicade so far due to deals offered by its maker, Johnson & Johnson.

Sales at Pfizer's consumer health business edged up 1 percent, to $846 million.

Pfizer now expects adjusted full-year earnings of $2.54 to $2.60 per share, with the lower end up 4 cents from its May forecast. The company still expects 2017 revenue of $52 billion to $54 billion.

In afternoon trading, Pfizer shares were unchanged at $33.16.

Explore further: Pfizer beats Street 2Q forecasts despite big drop in profit

Related Stories

Pfizer beats Street 2Q forecasts despite big drop in profit

August 2, 2016
Rising sales of Pfizer Inc.'s key new medicines and prospects more drugs will be approved over the next couple years have analysts speculating the biggest U.S. drugmaker won't break up after all.

Pfizer's 4Q net plunges on charges, sales decline

January 28, 2014
Drugmaker Pfizer said Tuesday that fourth-quarter profit plunged 59 percent because of discontinued operations, restructuring and other charges, and generic competition continuing to siphon off revenue from former blockbuster ...

Pfizer Q4 net jumps on sale of nutrition business

January 29, 2013
Pfizer Inc.'s fourth-quarter profit more than quadrupled, despite competition from generic drugs hurting sales of Lipitor and other medicines, because of a $4.8 billion gain from selling its nutrition business. The drugmaker's ...

Pfizer 1Q profit drops 15 pct due to lower sales (Update)

May 5, 2014
Despite sharply lower expenses and taxes, Pfizer Inc.'s first-quarter profit dropped 15 percent, due to cheaper generic competition for multiple medicines and some promotion partnerships with other drugmakers ending.

Pfizer 3Q net falls due to generics, higher costs

October 29, 2013
Pfizer Inc.'s third-quarter profit dropped 19 percent as competition from generic drugs continued to cut sales, while lower operating expenses failed to offset higher taxes and charges.

Pfizer net down on lower sales, higher research, legal costs

January 27, 2015
Pfizer Inc.'s fourth-quarter profit fell by half as worsening generic competition and unfavorable currency rates reduced sales, and higher research and legal costs also reduced the bottom line.

Recommended for you

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.