Pfizer has posted positive financial results, overcoming sales being hit by Lipitor's patent expiry by boosting overall earnings with a sharp reduction in research costs.
As expected, Lipitor suffered a drastic hit to its sales figures as a result of generic competition, falling 53% to $1.22bn. Lipitor fared even worse within the US after its patent expiry, falling 79% to $296m. Overall, biopharmaceutical sales suffered at the hands of Lipitor's performance, suffering a 10% decrease to $13.14bn.
Whereas other medications also faltered, such as blood pressure treatment Norvasc and erectile dysfunction medication Viagra, which fell 7% and 2% respectively, Pfizer was buoyed by gains made in other drugs. Epilepsy drug Lyrica increased 14% to $1.04m, whereas kidney cancer drug Sutent rose 8% to $319m.
The secret behind Pfizer's encouraging results lies in the reduction in research costs, with the company noting that its R&D spend fell 24% to $1.7bn. Other cost-cutting measures also contributed, with group turnover down 9% to $15.06bn, resulting in a 25% increase to net income to $3.25bn.
Pfizer's earnings were buoyed by products it acquired through the acquisition of Wyeth, pneumococcal vaccine Prevnar / Prevenar 13 bringing in sales of $916m, while arthritis medication Enbrel responsible for sales of $988m outside North America.
Pfizer chairman and CEO Ian Read praised the results, saying, "This performance was achieved despite the $1.8bn, or 11%, negative impact on revenues of product losses of exclusivity compared with the year-ago period, primarily Lipitor in most major markets."
"Overall, I am confident that Pfizer is well-positioned for long-term success given the potential of our innovative late-stage and emerging pipeline, strong operating cash flow, streamlined organization and disciplined approach to capital allocation," Read added.
Image: Pfizer corporate headquarters, located in New York, US. Image courtesy of Pfizer.