Drugmaker Pfizer has been steadily working through a major slim down to focus on developing innovative new drugs, in a Jan. 28, 2020 story. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Drugmaker Pfizer has been steadily working through a major slim down to focus on developing innovative new drugs, in a Jan. 28, 2020 story. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Pfizer posts 4Q loss, misses Street views, on lower revenue

Drugmaker Pfizer reported a $337 million loss in its fourth quarter after it shifted its consumer health business into a joint venture last year. The company narrowly missed Wall Street’s profit expectations.

The biggest U.S. drugmaker, on Tuesday reported net loss of 6 cents per share. In the year-earlier quarter, Pfizer lost $394 million, or 7 cents per share.

Adjusted earnings of $3.11 billion just missed the $3.24 billion expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Revenue totalled $12.69 billion in the October-December quarter. That topped the $12.61 billion that analysts were expecting, but was 9% lower than a year earlier. Sales in emerging markets like China and India jumped 14%.

Pfizer’s innovative prescription drug business posted revenue of $10.53 billion in the quarter, led by Prevnar 13, Eliquis, rheumatoid arthritis pill Xeljanz and breast cancer pill Ibrance.

Its Upjohn business, which sells off-patent drugs such as Lipitor and Viagra, had revenue of $2.16 billion in the latest quarter.

In premarket trading, Pfizer shares fell 42 cents, or 1.1%, to $39.74.

The company has been steadily working through a major slim down to focus on developing innovative new drugs.

Last July, Pfizer moved its huge stable of nonprescription medicines into a new joint venture with partner GlaxoSmithKline. Pfizer owns 32% of the JV, which brought Pfizer a profit of $129 million in the quarter. Meanwhile, Pfizer plans to combine its Upjohn business with generic drugmaker Mylan by mid-summer to create a new drugmaker called Viatris.

Pfizer noted it has three recently approved biosimilar drugs, near-copies of pricey biologic drugs “manufactured” in living cells, that have just launched or will by mid-February. Those are versions of three widely used cancer drugs, Herceptin, Avastin and Rituxan. The biosimilars are being sold for nearly 25% less than the list price of the now off-patent brand-name version as Pfizer aims to be atop seller of these injected medicines.

Pfizer also noted that during 2019, it spent $8 billion on shareholder dividends and $8.9 billion on share repurchases.

Pfizer Inc., based in New York, forecast adjusted net income of $2.82 to $2.92 per share, on revenue of $48.5 billion to $50.5 billion, for all of 2020.

By The Associated Press

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