Pfizer Missed the Mark in 2019, Is Hopeful About the New Year

Pfizer reported its fourth-quarter earnings and its sales fell steeply year over year.

2019 was a challenging year for the drugmaker Pfizer. Increased competition from other drug companies caused its sales to take a hit. As a result, the company’s shares were up and down for most of the year.

On Tuesday morning, Pfizer reported its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings. And while the results weren’t anything to get too excited about, there were a few bright spots in the earnings report. Let’s take a closer look at Pfizer’s fourth-quarter results.

What happened during the fourth quarter?

During the fourth quarter, Pfizer reported earnings of 55 cents per share. This figure just missed Wall Street’s guidance of 58 cents per share. And the company’s revenue reached $12.8 billion, which is an 8% decline from a year earlier.

And Pfizer reported decreased sales across some of its most popular drug brands. But the biggest culprit is the company’s nerve treatment drug Lyrica. Lyrica sales reached $433 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, down from $1.32 billion a year earlier.

While the company’s overall sales fell, it did see growth in its biopharma business. Sales increased by 7% in this segment of the company’s business. 

For instance, sales of the company’s popular pneumococcal vaccine Prevnar 13 grew by 4% years over year. And sales of Pfizer’s rare disease drug Vyndaqel reached $213 million during the fourth quarter. This is up from $39 million in sales a year earlier.

What’s next for the company?

Investors were expecting Pfizer’s 2019 earnings to take a hit. But many analysts expect that 2020 will be a more profitable year for the company. For one thing, this is the year the company plans to spin off its Upjohn unit and merge it with Mylan.

The company’s projected 2020 earnings look much better without Upjohn. The new and improved Pfizer should earn between $40.7 billion and $42.3 billion in revenue. If the company meets these guidelines, this would reflect a year over year growth of 8%.

Overall, the company is considered a hold on Wall Street. But a Cantor Fitzgerald analyst seemed optimistic about the company and called Pfizer’s 2020 outlook “robust.”