Pfizer quarter and year sales slip, CEO indicates M&A not pressing

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Ian Read
Ian Read

Pfizer reported Tuesday that fourth-quarter and year-end sales slumped in 2014. Fourth-quarter sales slid 3% to $13.1 billion, compared to $13.6 billion during the same period in 2013. Sales for the 12-month period were $49.6 billion, a 4% drop from $51.6 billion in 2013.

Executives forecasted that this year will be more of the same, and estimated that the drug manufacturer will bring in between $44.5 billion and $46.5 billion by 2015's close.

CEO Ian Read also told investors he was “mystified” by suggestions that the company would have to enter into a major M&A deal in 2015. He  also noted that the firm has “the balance sheet” that would allow it to pursue opportunities. Bloomberg reported Sunday that the company is sitting on around $33 billion in cash.

Earners included pain and seizure medication Lyrica (pregabalin), rheumatoid arthritis pill Xeljanz (tofacitinib), and blood-thinning oral Eliquis (apixaban).

Lyrica sales jumped 10% for the quarter, to $1.4 billion, an increase that included a 17% bump in US sales to $614 million compared to $525 million for the same period in 2013. Total Lyrica sales hit $5.2 billion, a 12% increase compared to $4.6 billion the year before.

Sales of Xeljanz, which Pfizer expects to resubmit to European regulatory authorities, had $104 million in fourth-quarter sales, up from $46 million for the same period in 2013. Year-end sales of  the oral RA drug almost doubled, closing out 2014 with $308 million in sales, compared to $114 million in 2013.

Execs said Eliquis, which is fighting for market share with competitors including Janssen's Xarelto (rivaroxaban) as well as generic standby warfarin, was a strong performer that helped bolster sales. The drug is marketed with partner Bristol-Myers Squibb. Earnings were not on Pfizer's announcement, BMS's Tuesday earnings indicate that the drug garnered $281 million in quarterly sales, up from  $71 million for the same period in 2013, and $774 million in 2014 sales compared to $146 million in 2013.

Patent lapses pulled quarter- and year-end sales downward.

Sales of arthritis medication Celebrex (celecoxib) fell to $550 million for the quarter, a 31% drop from the $798 million it earned during the same period in 2013. The difference is that multiple generics edged into the business as of December. Total Celebrex sales were down 8%, to $2.7 billion compared to $2.9 billion in 2013.

Overactive Bladder medication Detrol LA, also patent-less, had quarterly sales of $8 million, down 27% from $12 million for the same period last year, while annual sales fell 37%, to $33 million for the year, compared to $53 million in 2013.

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