Pfizer beats profit forecast, helped by cost cuts

Tue May 1, 2012 4:51pm IST

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REUTERS - Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings as cost controls partly offset plunging sales of its Lipitor cholesterol fighter, now facing competition from cheaper generics.

The largest U.S. drugmaker said on Tuesday that it earned $1.79 billion, or 24 cents per share, in the first quarter. That compared with $2.2 billion, or 28 cents per share, in the year-earlier period when results were hurt by a litigation charge and costs of revamping research operations.

Excluding special items, Pfizer earned 58 cents per share. Analysts, on average, had expected 56 cents per share.

The company's revenue fell 7 percent to $15.41 billion, a bit below Wall Street expectations of $15.47 billion.

(Reporting By Ransdell Pierson)

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