Pfizer's U.S. sales drop, emerging markets grow

Emerging markets sales helped boost Pfizer's third-quarter profits--and the $1.3 billion gain on its sale of Capsugel didn't hurt, either. The U.S.-based drugmaker beat analyst expectations for sales and earnings, in its last full quarter before megablockbuster Lipitor goes off patent. "The quarters ahead will be softer," Barclays Capital analyst Tony Butler told Bloomberg.

Top-performing products included Prevnar, whose sales grew by 37% to $1.01 billion. The Lyrica pain drug grew by 27% to $961 million, while Enbrel sales rose by 20% to $957 million. But it was Lipitor that delivered the most to Pfizer's ($PFE) top line, as usual: With 3% growth, the cholesterol drug brought in $2.3 billion.

Overall, the company posted $3.7 billion in net income, up substantially from last year's $866 million, which was weighed down by $1.5 billion in acquisition and litigation charges. Sales grew by 7%, thanks to overseas growth and exchange-rate effects, and EPS numbers benefited from $2.1 billion worth of share buybacks.

The geographic breakdown in sales shows where Pfizer will be looking for ongoing growth. U.S. sales dropped by 3% to $6.9 billion, while overseas revenues grew by 15%. Foreign sales amounted to 60% of the total, up four percentage points from last year's 56%. Other fast-growing operations were two divisions the company is planning to sell or spin off: animal health and nutrition.

- see the release from Pfizer
- read the Bloomberg story
- get more from the Financial Times