Pfizer Inc. on Tuesday said strong
sales of its leading drugs and revenues from divestitures of its
medical device businesses lifted profits to $634 million in the
fourth quarter of 1998, up 14 percent from the 1997 quarter.
The New York-based drug company best known for its
anti-impotence pill Viagra said 1998 fourth-quarter profits,
excluding unusual items, jumped 42 percent to $711 million or
54 cents per diluted share. That is two cents higher than the
consensus forecast of analysts polled by First Call.
Pfizer said overall fourth-quarter revenues rose 26 percent
to almost $3.9 billion, adding that growth would have been 2
percentage points higher if not for the strong U.S. dollar which
depressed the value of overseas sales.
Year-over-year global pharmaceutical sales jumped 31 percent
to about $3.4 billion, while U.S. drug revenues bounded 38
percent higher to $2.06 billion, the company said.
Viagra, launched in April 1998, contributed much of the
growth. It had fourth-quarter global sales of $236 million and
1998 sales of $788 million. Sales of hypertension drug Norvasc
jumped 15 percent to $719 million, while those of Pfizer's newer
broad-spectrum antibiotic Zithromax surged 42 percent to $379
million in the quarter.
On an unfavorable note, Pfizer said fourth-quarter sales for
its animal health segment slipped 3 percent to $385 million. And
sales of its consumer health-care group eased 2 percent to $94
million, though the segment would have shown a 6 percent rise if
not for the foreign currency drag.