Pfizer falls short of forecasts on weak demand for vaccine

City A.M. Reporter
DRUGS giant Pfizer posted much lower-than-expected first-quarter sales yesterday, hurt by weak demand for its Prevnar 13 vaccine and generic medicines, while it also trimmed its 2013 profit forecast.

Earnings for the quarter were also slightly below Wall Street expectations, and Pfizer shares fell more than two per cent after the announcement.

“It was just a lousy quarter, relative to company’s potential and earnings power,” said Michael Liss, portfolio manager with American Century Investments.

Liss said US sales of Prevnar, the company’s third-biggest product, were $150m below forecasts because wholesalers, with adequate supplies already on hand, held off on purchases of the vaccine used to prevent pneumonia and other infections.

“Prevnar just jumps off the page as a disappointment,” said Edward Jones analyst Judson Clark.

Pfizer earned $2.75bn in the first quarter, up from $1.79bn a year earlier, when it took charges to boost productivity and address legal matters.

Revenue fell nine per cent to $13.5bn, below Wall Street expectations of $13.99bn. It would have declined eight per cent if not for the stronger dollar hitting overseas sales.