Pfizer results show an astounding loss in Lipitor sales
Despite generic competition, the pharmaceutical giant beat Wall Street estimates, yet trimmed 2012 forecast.
Pfizer (PFE), the world's largest drugmaker, reported better-than-expected results Tuesday despite the significant hit it took from generic Lipitor competition. The company's cost-cutting efforts and strong sales by its non-pharmaceutical units helped offset the declining sales of its bestselling cholesterol drug. But Pfizer also lowered its 2012 outlook, blaming currency issues.
Pfizer shares were down 1.5% at midday as investors digested the magnitude of the loss of Lipitor exclusivity.
Lipitor, which at its prime had annual sales of more than $10 billion, lost patent protection on Nov. 30, causing a significant drop in Pfizer's revenue. Losses of exclusivity in general cost the company $5 billion, CEO Ian Read said.
The Lipitor losses, plus a one-time charge, caused the pharmaceutical giant's fourth-quarter profit to fall by half. Net income was $1.44 billion, or 19 cents per share, down from $2.89 billion, or 36 cents per share, the prior year.
Excluding one-time items, adjusted income was $3.86 billion, or 50 cents a share, up from $3.74 billion, or 47 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts expected Pfizer to earn 47 cents a share. Similarly, despite the 3.5% drop in revenue to $16.7 billion, Pfizer also topped the expected $16.61 billion in revenues.
But while the company managed to beat estimates, it also significantly trimmed its 2012 forecast, blaming the strengthening of the dollar. The new forecast is below Wall Street estimates, according to Reuters.
The effect of the loss of exclusivity on Lipitor is staggering. With only one month left in the quarter after the patent expired, Lipitor sales still fell 42% in the U.S. and 24% worldwide.
It seems that all of its deals, such as the one with Watson Pharmaceutical (WPI), as well as incentives to insurance companies and patients, were of little help to stem the tide of generic Lipitor. That will only get worse as more generics are allowed to enter the market and prices drop even further. Already last week Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal reported that Pfizer's efforts are not bearing the expected fruit and its market share keeps declining.
Pfizer has long talked about several moves it was going to take to handle the expected loss of sales, including cost-cutting through layoffs. The company reduced costs by 9% in the quarter, but this was far from enough.
Pfizer also talked about refocusing on its prescription drug division by selling non-pharma units, specifically animal health and nutrition (mostly baby formula). But what's interesting is that these two divisions helped the company offset declines in its prescription drugs as their revenues grew. Animal health unit sales increased by 13% and nutrition revenue was up by 22%.
In the meantime, Pfizer awaits several drug approvals, such as for anti-clot drug Eliquis. And just Friday, Pfizer's Inlyta drug for patients with advanced kidney cancer was approved. Already, several other drugs have picked up some of the Lipitor slack. Sales of pain drug Lyrica increased 22% to just under $1 billion. Sales of arthritis treatment Enbrel and the Celebrex painkiller rose 7% each, to $925 million and $667 million, respectively, while sales of impotence treatment Viagra were up 5%. Also, sales of vaccine Prevnar 13 rose 1%.
Whether these moves and improvements are enough to offset the lost Lipitor sales is yet to be seen. Pfizer can also always look to boost its offerings with certain biotechs. Let's not forget, also, that for some investors, the yield of more than 4% is very attractive.
Since Nov. 30, the day Pfizer lost patent protection on Lipitor, the stock actually climbed 10%, and it gained about 24% last year. Unless investors were completely unprepared, the Lipitor issues should be finally fully priced in by now. For investors with a long-term horizon, Pfizer can certainly offer stability and income.
Melly Alazraki is a freelance financial writer who frequently covers the pharmaceutical industry.
Pfizer has made deals to stop many insurance plans from covering the generic. Instead these plans will cover only Lipitor and charge patients lower co pays, which sounds like a great deal.
But for people on Medicare Part D, there's a catch. These patients will reach their maximum of drug cost for the year, $2,930 for 2012 sooner. What that means is they'll be in the donut hole faster. Because only the higher cost drug counts toward the limit. This will continue thru May 31st, when more drug makers will be able to market the generic version and competition will increase.
When more blockbuster drugs come off patent in 2012 it's likely to be copied by others.
I have spent 10 years with painful peripheral neuropathy caused by Lipitor. No cure and only very little relief using pain med's. Very little sleep.
Many people are suffering from these statins. Causes muscle cramps, TIA's, Dementia. I wish people would research because the doctors are not going to agree that your symptoms are from statins.
The generic version just became available to us (KS) last month and we are forced to use it by our insurance carrier.
To those who have suffered side effects, maybe your doctor needs to be replaced. My doctor reviewed all the side effects with me, detailing what signs to look for, to make sure I didn't have any bad reactions. That was 17 years ago, and still no adverse effects.
I wonder if they would make a profit if they had to pay for the people that HURT with their drugs.
But I am not sure who is really to blame, the company or the doctors that turn their heads the other way.
It cost me time, money and PAIN, and was at the point of being cut to see if I could fix the pain.
And the doctors were willing to cut.
Stay away from Pfizer have you noticed some Doctors only give Medications from Pfizer when others give Medications from other Drug Companies, That's because they get rewarded for doing so like free paid Vacations Etc.
Lipitor is a Statin so stay away have you read about the Lawsuits against Statins such as Simvastin it causes a rare Muscle Disease which also affects the Kidneys.
Pfizer is Greedy Giant they have paid TransTech Pharma Inc out of High Point NC 1.1 Billion for rights to a Drug known as TTP054 Which is for Diabetes the reason for the name TTP054 is because it is in the Clinical Stages they have tried it on Mice and now using Humans as guinea pigs but they are not telling Study Participants that it has been known to cause Blindness in Mice and Rats.
Pfizer was the maker of an antibiotic tetracycline if given to kids it will cause permanent damage to the Teeth in which it causes the Teeth to be stained Gray for life.
Use to Pfizer did not warn the FDA or Doctors about this Side Effect they do so now. But I contacted Pfizer to ask them to compensate the people who had there Teeth Damaged by there product which is a Liability all I was asking is that they pay to fix the Teeth.
Of course the Greedy Pfizer said no my doctor gave me Liptor after I found out it was a Statin and that the Maker was Pfizer I Flushed them.
Never will I take a Drug with Pfizers name on it. I would ask all people to do the same.
hmmmmm......maybe its time to re-introduce torcetrapib?
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