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Pfizer earnings drop but results better than expected

US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Tuesday (July 29) reported a smaller drop in sales than expected as second-quarter earnings fell sharply due to a one-time gain last year.

NEW YORK: US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Tuesday (July 29) reported a smaller drop in sales than expected as second-quarter earnings fell sharply due to a one-time gain last year.

Pfizer, which is contending with patent expirations on a number of blockbuster medications, said earnings were US$2.9 billion, down more than 79 per cent from a year ago. The 2013 period was boosted by a US$10.6 billion gain resulting from Pfizer's spinoff of its animal care assets into Zoetis, which is now publicly traded.

"Overall, I am pleased with our second-quarter 2014 financial results despite the continued negative impact from product losses of exclusivity and the termination of certain co-promotion collaborations," said Pfizer chief financial officer Frank D'Amelio.

Revenues for Pfizer's business unit covering more established treatments declined five per cent due to expiration of a number of major patents, including its sexual-dysfunction pill Viagra in several European markets in June 2013. Revenues for the innovative products division also fell five per cent due to the expiration of a patent for painkiller Lyrica in Canada, among other factors.

These results were partially offset by a 14 per cent rise in global vaccines revenues and a 16 per cent jump in global oncology revenues. Overall, Pfizer revenues slipped 1.5 per cent to US$12.77 billion, better than the US$12.47 billion projected by analysts.

Adjusted earnings translated into 58 cents per share, a penny above analyst expectations. Pfizer in May dropped a campaign to acquire British drugmaker AstraZeneca, although analysts think the US company could revive the effort later this year. Dow component Pfizer rose 1.4 per cent in pre-market trade to US$30.51. 

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