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Gloom at Pfizer as Exubera costs hit profits


Pfizer has revealed its third-quarter profits were hit by a £1.4bn pre-tax charge to end its investment in insulin drug Exubera® (inhalable insulin), and lower sales of its cholesterol drug Lipitor® (atorvastatin).

The company posted profits of £372m, a sharp decline from the £1.6bn which was recorded for the same period last year.

Sales of Exubera have been disappointing for the company since its launch.

The firm said it will return licensing rights to its partner Nektar Therapeutics and work with doctors over the next three months to switch patients who are taking the drug onto other diabetes treatments.

Jeff Kindler, the firm’s chairman and chief executive, said: “We made an important decision regarding Exubera, a product for which we initially had high expectations. Despite our best efforts, Exubera has failed to gain the acceptance of patients and physicians.”

Pfizer said it has now stopped producing the drug at its factory in the US state of Indiana and has placed between 650 and 750 workers on paid leave.

Sales of Lipitor, the world’s best-selling drug, dipped 5% to £1.5bn over the period.

And the firm said it expects sales of the drug to be up to 5% lower in 2007 compared with 2006, which will be the first time they have fallen since Lipitor was launched nearly 10 years ago.

Copyright © PA Business 2007


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