Pfizer sees first-quarter earnings fall


NEW YORK Pfizer reported that its earnings for its first quarter fell by over half a billion dollars to $2.8 billion from $3.4 billion in the first quarter of 2007, according to published reports.

The company had a decrease in sales of $777 million for its cholesterol pill Lipitor and its blood pressure treatment Norvasc due to competition from generics. Lipitor’s sales fell from $3.36 billion to $3.14 billion. The cholesterol drug is Pfizer's key revenue driver and will lose patent protection in 2010, opening the floodgates for less-expensive generic versions.

The anti-smoking drug Chantix contributed to the company revenue, as it rose 71 percent to $277 million. The drug has brought concerns on psychiatric side problems, as the company said patients taking Chantix committed or attempted suicide.

Other products such as Lyrica, a treatment for fibromyalgia rose 47 percent to $582 million, while the painkiller Celebrex rose 2 percent to $611 million.

Pfizer said cost-cutting measures partially offset revenue declines, and the company is on track to reduce costs by $1.5 billion to $2 billion by the end of 2008. The measures, which included cutting 11,000 jobs and closing eight facilities in 2007, are part of an effort to shore up the company's financial position as it faces more costly drug patent expirations.

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