Product News and Recalls

Lipitor sales drop diminishes Pfizer’s outlook for the year

The Wall Street Journal says a dramatic sales drop in Pfizer’s anti-cholesterol medication Lipitor was behind the company’s nine percent revenue decline for the first quarter, which was worse than expected and lowered the company’s full-year outlook.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently added warnings to the label of Lipitor, advising that the drug may increase the risk of Type II diabetes. The new label also warns that Lipitor may raise blood sugar levels, and could cause memory loss.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Pfizer lost its exclusivity for Lipitor in 2011, and the first-quarter numbers reflect the impact of its competition with generic versions. Lipitor’s annual sales peaked at $12.9 billion last decade, the story says. But for the first quarter, total sales fell 55 percent to $626 million.

Pfizer’s revenue is projected to be at least 15 percent lower in 2013 than two years ago, the story says.

The company has been bringing new drugs to market in response, securing regulatory approval of Xeljanz for rheumatoid arthritis, the blood thinner Eliquis and cancer drugs Inlyta and Xalkori. But with health insurers and government payers cautious about reimbursing for new drugs, some have been off to a relatively slow start and have yet to help Pfizer’s bottom line.

Pfizer is also cutting costs, shedding nonpharmaceutical assets and buying back stock, to make up for the revenue loss.

Still, the company has lowered its forecast of adjusted 2013 earnings to a range of $2.14 to $2.24 a share from a prior range of $2.20 to $2.30 a share, the story said. It has also cut its revenue outlook to $55.3 billion to $57.3 billion from $56.2 billion to $58.2 billion.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with a Lipitor lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries.

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