Generic drugs hit Big Pharma

DRUGS companies Pfizer and Merck yesterday reported a substantial drop in quarterly revenues after losing exclusive rights to key drugs.

Pfizer’s cholesterol drug Lipitor now faces competition from a variety of generic sources in

Western Europe and the US. Pfizer, the world’s biggest drugs manufacturer, also lost its monopoly on a variety of other treatments during the same period, leading to a combined $603m (£393m) fall in sales.

Profits fell 10 per cent to $4bn, although this was still ahead of analysts’ expectations.

Merck earned $906m, down from $1.79bn a year earlier. It said full-year sales were likely to be about five to six per cent below last year’s levels.