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Pfizer's Q2 profit sinks 79 percent but tops forecasts

NEW YORK -- Pfizer's second-quarter earnings plunged 79 percent from last year, when the world's second-largest drugmaker booked a business spin-off gain of more than US$10 billion. The latest results still edged analyst expectations.

The New York company said Tuesday it earned US$2.91 billion, or 45 cents per share, in the quarter. That compares with earnings of US$14.1 billion, or US$1.98 per share, last year. Adjusted earnings totaled 58 cents per share.

Analysts expected, on average, earnings of 57 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue slipped 2 percent to US$12.77 billion, while analysts forecast US$12.47 billion, on average.

Pfizer Inc. is best known for creating medicines for the masses, including the erectile dysfunction pill Viagra, the Prevnar vaccine against pneumonia and related infections, and the now-generic cholesterol fighter Lipitor, which was once the world's best-selling drug.

Chairman and CEO Ian Read has been streamlining Pfizer to reduce costs and free up money for research on disorders with limited treatments or in areas where the company has expertise. Over the last three years, Pfizer has divested assets outside its core business.

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