said operating income grew 21% in the fourth quarter on a 12% jump in sales as the world's biggest pharmaceuticals company got strong performances from all its major product lines.
Pfizer earned $2.1 billion, or 34 cents a share, from continuing operations in the fourth quarter, on revenue of $9.03 billion. The results were in line with analysts' estimates. Within its human pharmaceuticals unit, sales grew 14% to $7.24 billion.
Among its blockbusters, Pfizer said fourth-quarter sales of cholesterol treatment Lipitor rose 16% to $3.26 billion; sales of impotence treatment Viagra rose 9% to $415 million; sales of antibiotic Zithromax rose 7% to $560 million; and sales of Zoloft rose 10% to $646 million.
Pfizer backed 2002 earnings estimates of $1.56 a share to $1.60 a share and said it's comfortable with double-digit revenue growth estimates this year and for the two years after, during which it expects per-share earnings to rise by 15%. The company plans to spend $5.3 billion on research and development this year.
Simultaneous with Pfizer's earnings report, however, came word from Britain that a court had turned down its appeal of a ruling that invalidated the patent covering some of the technology behind the company's Viagra impotence treatment.
The ruling by Britain's Appeals Court means other companies can sell drugs that treat impotence by blocking a chemical called PDE-5, although none can sell versions of Viagra until Pfizer's patent on sildenafil, its active ingredient, expires in 2013.