Pfizer’s Q4 profits fall by half on low sales and higher research, legal costs


Pfizer Inc.’s fourth-quarter profit fell by half as worsening generic competition and unfavorable currency rates reduced sales, and higher research spending and legal costs also hurt the bottom line.

The world’s second-biggest drugmaker by revenue reported lower sales for most of its huge portfolio of prescription medicines, with the biggest hit coming from new generic competition to popular painkiller Celebrex.

Pfizer revenues have been declining amid a long wave of patent expirations, which allows much cheaper generic versions of its drugs to corner the market, while CEO Ian Read looks for a way to return to growth and mollify frustrated investors.

The New York-based company still beat Wall Street expectations, but it forecast 2015 profit and revenue below its 2014 results. The forecast, for 2015 revenue of US$44.5 billion to US$46.5 billion and adjusted earnings per share of US$2 to US$2.10, also is below analyst expectations for US$48.21 billion in revenue and US$2.21 per share.

Shares of Pfizer, a Dow component, rose 31 cents to US$33.11 in morning trading as the broader markets fell.