Pfizer Inc's earnings are likely to slump further this year and its recently released plan to return to double-digit earnings growth next year and in 2007 could be in jeopardy because of Thursday's decision by federal regulators to ban the sale of Bextra, one of its blockbuster pain relievers, analysts said.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked Pfizer to halt the sale of Bextra, which has been linked to increased risk of heart attacks and a rare skin condition. The FDA also said another Pfizer pain medication, Celebrex, must carry a black box warning -- the agency's sternest admonishment -- about its potentially negative cardiovascular and gastrointestinal side effects.
Pfizer shares initially fell almost 5 percent in trading on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange, but ended the day little changed at US$26.90.
Pfizer officials did not return calls seeking comment. In a statement, Pfizer said it respectfully disagreed with the FDA decision's on Bextra and that it would work with the agency on Celebrex's label.
As part of an announcement on Tuesday that it would slash US$4 billion in costs, Pfizer estimated it would earn US$2 a share this year, down from US$2.12 a share earned last year. Analysts said that was no longer feasible and estimated Pfizer would miss the target by anywhere from US$0.03 to US$0.07.
Company officials also had expressed confidence in their ability to revitalize sales of Celebrex and Bextra, which have declined in recent months because of safety concerns. But with Bextra now off the market, Celebrex's sales prospects are uncertain.
Last year, Celebrex sales totaled US$3.3 billion while Bextra sales were US$1.3 billion.
Celebrex and Bextra belong to class of drugs known as Cox-2 inhibitors, as does Vioxx, a medicine taken off the market last September by Merck & Co after it was linked to increased risk of heart attack and strokes.
"I don't think Celebrex takes a huge hit but I am not comfortable saying this will be a growth product," said Carl Seiden, an analyst at UBS AG.
Doctors said the FDA announcement wouldn't necessarily prompt them to abandon Celebrex, but they also said more tests are needed to quantify the drug's cardiovascular risk and prove whether it reduces problems such as stomach bleeding than can be caused by aspirin and other pain relievers.
Cox-2 were developed to be gentler on the stomach but Celebrex's label doesn't say it reduces gastrointestinal side effects.
"Pfizer needs to do more studies," said Dr. Steven Abramson, chairman of rheumatology at the New York University-Hospital for Joint Diseases.
China reported 45 new COVID-19 cases for Saturday, down from 54 the previous day, with all but one involving travelers from overseas, the country’s health authority said yesterday. In the past seven days, China has reported 313 imported cases of the novel coronavirus, but only six confirmed cases of domestic transmission, Chinese National Health Commission data showed. Most of those imported cases have involved Chinese returning home from abroad. Airlines have been ordered to sharply cut international flights from yesterday, while restrictions on foreigners entering the country went into effect on Saturday. Five more people died on Saturday, all of them in Wuhan,
KEEP AWAY: People should wear a mask in places where they cannot follow social distancing rules, the CECC said, adding that it would publish detailed guidelines today The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 16 new cases of COVID-19, including two domestic cases, as it urged people to practice social distancing in public spaces by keeping a distance of at least 1m when outdoors and 1.5m indoors. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that seven of the new cases tested positive upon their arrival at the airport, four were under home quarantine, one was under home isolation and two were under self-health management, while the two domestic cases sought treatment on their own. The domestic cases are a man in his
Taiwan will negotiate with the WHO about its participation without Beijing’s help and intervention as more countries, including Australia and Japan, are partnering with Taiwan to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephonic roundtable with reporters on Monday also supported Taiwan’s role in the WHO, saying the US Department of State would do its best to assist Taiwan’s “appropriate role” in the world’s highest health policy setting body, Voice of America reported. In a Japan Business Press report published on Sunday, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou (孔鉉佑) said
‘HEROIC’: A lack of personal protective equipment has led to high infection rates among health workers in places like Spain and Italy, a nurses’ association said More equipment is needed to protect the world’s nurses working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic to save lives, the head of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) said. “They are heroic. I think there is no other way to describe what they are doing at this moment,” said Howard Catton, a British nurse who is the council’s CEO. Infection rates of 9 percent and 12 to 14 percent have been reported among health workers in Italy and Spain respectively, he said, adding that nurses have died in the two nations, as well as Iran and Indonesia. “We have no doubt