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Pfizer's earnings decline on rising dollar, generics.

Pfizer Inc. (New York), the world's biggest drugmaker, said profit declined 2% as revenue fell for its Lipitor cholesterol pill and Chantix smoking treatment and the rising value of the dollar hurt sales outside the U.S. Net income in the first quarter dropped to $2.73 billion, or 40 cents a share, from $2.78 billion, or 41 cents, a year earlier, the company said. Profit excluding items beat by 5 cents the 49 cents a share average estimate of analysts. Revenue declined 8.3% to $10.9 billion, missing analysts' expectations by $255 million. Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Kindler has said he is trying to boost earnings by agreeing in January to buy rival drugmaker Wyeth (Madison, NJ) in a deal valued at about $62 billion. Pfizer has been losing sales of Lipitor, the world's best-selling drug, since cheaper copies of a similarly acting cholesterol pill, Merck & Co.'s (Whitehouse Station NJ) Zocor, came on the market in 2006. "The revenue decline includes the onerous impact of foreign exchange and weakening demand for Lipitor," said Barbara Ryan, a Deutsche Bank analyst. Foreign exchange hurt revenue by $640 million, Pfizer said.

Pfizer reaffirmed its forecast for 2009 earnings, excluding items, at a range of $1.85 to $1.95. The company is cutting jobs and restructuring research operations as it braces to lose patent protection in 2011 on Lipitor, which accounted for about a quarter of its 2008 revenue. Pfizer has cut more than 14,000 jobs since 2007. An additional 19,000 positions are slated to be eliminated after the Wyeth acquisition to save about $2 billion in costs by the end of 2011, the company said in January. Sales of Lipitor, the world's top-selling medicine, fell 13% to $2.72 billion. Lipitor sales have declined as U.S. health plans encouraged patients to take generic copies of Zocor by charging lower co-payments. The pain drug Lyrica, Pfizer's second-best selling medicine, increased 17% to $684 million. Pfizer shares closed the week up 41 cents, or 3%, at $13.58.
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Title Annotation:TOP STORIES; Pfizer Inc.
Article Type:Financial report
Date:May 4, 2009
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