fourth-quarter earnings rose from a year ago on a 1% improvement in revenue, as sales of its arthritis drugs remained strong and writedowns in the year-ago period helped the comparison.
The drug giant said it earned $554 million, or 41 cents a share, in the fourth quarter compared with $86 million, or 6 cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 2001. Adjusted for a legal gain in the latest quarter and numerous writedowns and charges a year ago, earnings were $530 million, or 40 cents a share, up from $475 million, or 36 cents a share, a year earlier.
The company said global pharmaceuticals sales were $3.7 billion in the fourth quarter, up 1% from a year ago. Adjusting for the transfer of U.S. rights for its sleeping pill Ambien back to
, sales rose 10% in the fourth quarter from a year ago.
Within its key arthritis pain-relief line, overall sales rose 11% to $999 million, reflecting fourth-quarter sales of Celebrex of $812 million, down 10% from a year ago, and fourth-quarter sales of its new Bextra treatment of $184 million.
In December Pharmacia's shareholders approved the company's acquisition by
; it's expected to close in the current quarter. The shares closed at $40.35 Tuesday night.