updated 10/19/2006 9:17:59 AM ET 2006-10-19T13:17:59

Pfizer Inc. said Thursday its third-quarter profit soared 112 percent compared with the corresponding period last year, which was hurt by an acquisition charge.

The world’s largest drugmaker said the challenging operating environment is pushing it to further lower costs and that next year it would announce cost-cutting measures that go beyond the program announced last year designed to cut $4 billion in expenses by 2008.

“We recognize that the world around us is changing dramatically and that we need to accelerate the scope and speed of change to transform Pfizer,” said Jeffrey B. Kindler, who became Pfizer’s CEO over the summer.

Kindler said that as a result of the cost-cutting, Pfizer will be able to deliver high single-digit earnings per share growth in 2007 and 2008.

The new plan means Pfizer’s operating expenses next year will fall below those of 2006, according to company vice chairman David L. Shedlarz.

Pfizer said the strengthening dollar combined with pricing policies in several European countries means it now expects revenue in the next two years to be on par with those expected in 2006. Previously, Pfizer had said predicted moderate growth.

Pfizer said it earned $3.4 billion or 46 cents a share, compared with $1.6 billion or 22 cents a year earlier. In the third quarter of 2005, Pfizer took a $1.4 billion acquisition charge.

Revenue rose 9 percent to $12.2 billion, beating the expectation of analysts who predicted $11.4 billion.

Lipitor revenue rose 15 percent to $3.3 billion, despite moves from health plans to switch patients to a cheap generic version of Zocor, another cholesterol-lowering agent.

Meanwhile, sales of antidepressant Zoloft plunged 43 percent to $459 million as it struggled with generic competitors launched over the summer.

But revenues of Celebrex, a pain reliever that had been hard hit by safety concerns, increased 20 percent to $537 million. Erectile dysfunction drug Viagra sales jumped 10 percent to $423 million. Its sales had been weak recently because of competition and a sluggish overall market for the products.

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