Pfizer earnings tumble on lost patents, higher costs


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.