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Pfizer falls as strong dollar and generic erosion bites

First quarter results beat analysts’ estimates but sales still sliding

Pfizer HQPfizer reported a drop in sales for the first quarter as the strength of the US dollar and generic competition continue to hit the firm.

Revenue for the first quarter was down 4% to $10.86bn but this still managed to marginally beat analysts' estimate of $10.76bn. 

Pfizer's global vaccines sales saw the best growth with sales rising 44% to $1.33bn, predominately on the back of the Prevnar family of inoculations. 

Its top-selling medicines also saw healthy growth, with pain drug Lyrica (pregabalin) seeing sales grow 3% to $1.18bn, while its erectile dysfunction pill Viagra (sildenafil) saw an increase of 6% in revenue, up to $396m. 

But these were the only real bright spots on an otherwise tough quarter. Of its top ten selling individual drugs, only three (including Lyrica and Viagra) saw any growth, with all the rest all sliding. 

This includes its auto inflammatory drug Enbrel, with sales outside of the US dropping 17% to $759m and its once $13bn a year blockbuster statin Lipitor (atorvastatin) continuing to succumb to continued generic erosion, down 4% to 441m. 

The company's sales has also been hit by the strong dollar - but it is certainly not the only US company to feel the effects, with both Merck and J&J also reporting problems due in part to the dollar rising nearly 9% against most other major currencies from January to March - it only rose 13% throughout the whole of 2014.

The company said it would on the back of this be cutting its 2015 revenue forecast to $44-$46bn, down from $44.5-$46.5bn set earlier this year.

This also comes as Novartis last year overtook Pfizer as the world's biggest pharma firm by sales, pushing the US giant down to second place for the first time in nearly a decade. 

Ian Read, Pfizer's chairman and chief executive, remained upbeat, saying: “We began the year with good performance on both the top and bottom line and I believe the company is well-positioned in terms of in-line products, recent product launches, geographic reach and product pipeline.

“We continue to advance our product pipeline, which currently includes a competitive and diverse mix across small and large molecules and vaccines. I believe we are well-positioned in promising new areas of biology such as immune-oncology, anti-PCSK9 for improved cardiovascular outcomes associated with LDL cholesterol  reduction and vaccines for the potential prevention of life threatening infections such as staphylococcus aureus and clostridium difficile.”

“During the remainder of 2015 and beyond, we will continue to focus on driving growth for our key products and geographies, accelerating innovation and continuing to allocate capital to value-creating opportunities.”

Article by
Ben Adams

29th April 2015

From: Sales

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