Pfizer Inc.'s third-quarter profit dropped 19 percent as competition from generic drugs continued to cut sales, while operating expenses, taxes and charges all rose.
Like many other drugmakers, Pfizer is suffering as cheaper generic versions erode sales of its drugs, no longer protected by patents, that once brought in billions annually. Those are led by cholesterol fighter Lipitor, which lost patent protection at the end of 2011 after reigning as the world's top-selling drug for nearly a decade.
The maker of Viagra and fibromyalgia treatment Lyrica said Tuesday that its net income was $2.59 billion, or 39 cents per share, down from $3.21 billion, or 43 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, the world's second-largest drugmaker said net income would have been $3.86 billion, or 58 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected 56 cents per share.
Revenue totaled $12.64 billion, down 2 percent from $12.95 billion a year ago. Analysts expected $12.69 billion.
Lipitor sales fell 29 percent in the quarter to $533 million — still at blockbuster levels, with more than $1.7 billion in annual sales for the first nine months, but well below its peak rate of nearly $13 billion a year.
Top seller Lyrica posted a 10 percent sales jump, to $1.14 billion, and sales of immune disorder treatment Enbrel, painkiller Celebrex and several other drugs all climbed by 5 percent or more. But many other older drugs with generic competition continued to post big declines.
New York-based Pfizer raised the lower end of its 2013 profit forecast by a nickel and now expects $2.15 to $2.20 per share. But the company reduced the top end of its revenue forecast for the year by $1 billion, saying it now anticipates $50.8 billion to $51.8 billion.
"We continue to generate solid financial results on an operational basis, despite the impact of product losses of exclusivity," and the "challenging operating environment," CEO Ian Read said in a statement.
In premarket trading, Pfizer shares were up 6 cents to $30.80.
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