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Pfizer profit falls, hurt by Bextra charges

Pfizer Inc. Tuesday said first-quarter earnings tumbled as the world's largest drugmaker took a number of charges, including costs related to the suspension of sales of its arthritis drug Bextra.
/ Source: Reuters

Pfizer Inc. Tuesday said first-quarter earnings tumbled as the world's largest drugmaker took a number of charges, including costs related to the suspension of sales of its arthritis drug Bextra.

New York-based Pfizer said it earned $301 million, or 4 cents per share, compared with $2.33 billion, or 30 cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding special items, Pfizer earned 54 cents per share. Analysts polled by Reuters Estimates, on average, expected 53 cents per share, which was the company's own forecast.

Pfizer earlier this month agreed to suspend sales of Bextra after U.S. and European regulators said the risk of serious side effects from the drug, including a potentially fatal skin allergy, outweighed the benefits.

Pfizer stopped selling Bextra even though it said it disagreed with regulatory decisions on the drug, which had sales in 2004 of $1.3 billion. The company had been counting on Bextra to bolster profits at a time when Pfizer's earnings growth has careened to a halt due to generic competition for other medicines.