Pfizer earnings tumble on lost patents, higher costs

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Pfizer faces growing political pressure at home and in Britain as speculation mounts on whether the US pharmaceutical giant will sweeten its buyout offer for British company AstraZeneca.

NEW YORK - Pfizer reported lower third-quarter earnings on Tuesday, due to the hit from lost patent exclusivity on some key drugs and one-time costs on a pending divestment.

Sales of the muscle pain drug Lyrica dropped due to lost patents in Europe, while revenues from the Prevnar vaccine declined on flagging sales momentum following a late 2014 launch.

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Net profit for the pharmaceutical giant was $1.3 billion, down 38 percent from the year-ago period.

Revenues were $13.0 billion, up eight percent, boosted by sales from the purchase of Hospira, a leader in injectable drugs and biosimilar technology.

Over the last 18 months, Pfizer has also acquired Medivation, which markets the successful prostate-cancer drug Xtandi, and Anacor, a specialist in treating inflammatory ailments.

The acquired assets are "providing new near-term opportunities to potentially drive incremental growth for the business as its product pipeline continues to mature," said Pfizer chief executive Ian Read.

Pfizer has begun to pare away non-choice assets from these deals. It took a one-time impairment charge related to its sale of Hospira's global infusion therapy business to ICU Medical, a factor in an 18 percent rise in overall costs to $8.5 billion that was part of the reason for the drop in third-quarter earnings.

Pfizer's results translated into earnings per share of 61 cents, a penny below analyst expectations.

Shares fell 2.4 percent to $30.95 in pre-market trade.