Biopharmaceuticals power Pfizer in the first quarter

Higher prescription drugs sales and restrained spending together gave drugmaker Pfizer a 9% jump in first quarter profit as it easily topped analysts’ profit expectations.

The maker of blood thinner Eliquis and Xeljanz for rheumatoid arthritis saw their sales each jump by 30% or more, lifting prescription drug sales by 3 percent. Sales of Pfizer’s off-patent drugs and its consumer health products both dipped, though.

The New York drugmaker on Tuesday reported earnings of $3.88 billion, or 68 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, were 85 cents per share, far exceeding projections of 77 cents from Wall Street analysts, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

The biggest U.S. drugmaker by revenue posted sales of $13.12 billion, up from $12.91 billion in 2018’s first quarter.

Pfizer raised its full-year profit forecast by a penny, to a range of $2.83 to $2.93 per share. It reaffirmed the sales forecast it gave in January, for a range of $52 billion to $54 billion.

Pfizer shares were moving higher before the opening bell.

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Portions of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on PFE at https://www.zacks.com/ap/PFE

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