NEW YORK (AP) _ Pfizer Inc. posted double-digit sales and earnings growth for the fourth quarter, fueled by continued strength of several blockbuster medicines, the company said Wednesday.
Net income increased 38 percent to $1.96 billion, or 30 cents a share, from $1.42 billion, or 23 cents a share, in the year ago period.
Excluding certain items and merger-related costs, earnings increased 21 percent to $2.11 billion, or 34 cents a share _ in line with the expectations of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call.
Revenue at the world’s largest drug company jumped 12 percent to $9.03 billion from $8.05 billion a year earlier led by medicines such as Lipitor, a cholesterol treatment and Viagra, a drug for erectile dysfunction.
During the fourth quarter, sales of cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor, the world’s top selling drug, jumped 31 percent to $1.88 billion. Revenues for Viagra, meanwhile, increased 9 percent to $415 million.
Pfizer Inc. is in the enviable position of not having been hit by any of the patent expirations problems that have bedeviled many in the industry. While other drug companies such as Merck & Co. had to lower forecasts for 2002, Pfizer Inc. reiterated it expects per share earrings to rise up to 22 percent this year and an average of 15 percent or better for 2003 and 2004.
For the year, revenue increased 10 percent to $32.26 billion from 29.36 billion a year earlier. Net income for 2001 surged 109 percent to $7.79 billion from $3.726 billion.