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Pfizer Beats Estimates, Says 2001 and 2002 Are on Track

Sales of Lipitor and Viagra paced growth for the world's No. 1 drugmaker.


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reported Wednesday that third-quarter profits rose 28%, beating Wall Street estimates by one penny, on strong drug sales.

The world's No. 1 drug maker earned $2.18 billion, or 34 cents per share, in the third quarter, compared to $1.71 billion, or 27 cents per share, in the third quarter last year. Earnings exclude certain items and merger-related costs.

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Analysts were looking for earnings of 33 cents per share, according to consensus estimates compiled by Thomson Financial/First Call.

Pfizer also said it was comfortable with current consensus earnings estimates of $1.30 per share for 2001, and it reaffirmed guidance for 2002 earnings of $1.56 or better.

Third-quarter revenue grew 10% to $7.9 billion, which was a bit lower than the company expected due to poorer results in the company's consumer business. But worldwide pharmaceutical revenue grew by 13% to $6.2 billion in the third quarter, led by strong sales of the cholesterol drug Lipitor and the impotence medicine Viagra.

Shares of Pfizer closed Tuesday at $41.10 per share.