Pfizer Q4 profits better than dour expectations; raise 2008 predictions

NEW YORK Pfizer released its fourth-quarter profit and even though it fell 70 percent from a year ago, the company was still happy to top expectations from Wall Street analysts and others, especially taking into consideration the number of drugs it lost this year to generic introductions, reports stated.

For the three months that ended Dec. 31, net income fell to $2.88 billion from $9.45 billion. Revenue climbed 4 percent to $13.07 billion from $12.60 billion in the 2006 period, as international sales kept up by the weaker dollar helped offset the loss of patent protection on the blood pressure drug Norvasc and the antidepressant Zoloft. The revenue was driven by sales of such drugs as the cholesterol medication Lipitor, the smoking cessation drug Chantix, pain treatment Celebrex and Lyrica and kidney cancer drug Sutent.

“With strong product performance, cost reductions, improved productivity and the benefits of foreign exchange, we achieved both revenue and adjusted earnings growth despite losing U.S. market exclusivity for Norvasc and Zoloft,” said chairman and chief executive Jeff Kindler in a statement.

The company raised its outlook for 2008 revenue to a range of $47 billion to $49 billion, from a prior estimated range of $46.5 billion to $48.5 billion. The company warned that first-quarter revenue may not top year-ago results due to the loss of patent protection on Norvasc in 2007, allergy drug Zyrtec this month and colon cancer drug Camptosar in February. These products contributed to a revenue of about $1.1 billion in the first quarter of 2007.

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