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Tuesday, 17 July, 2001, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK
Drugs firms beat the slowdown
Selection of drugs made by Pfizer
Drugs such as Viagra bolster Pfizer's profits
Pfizer, the world's biggest drug manufacturer, has reported a 30% rise in second quarter profits.

The results were pumped up by sales of blockbuster drugs and $1.6bn worth of savings from last year's acquisition of rival Warner-Lambert.

The company said it made profits of $1.89bn in the three months to 30 June, up from $1.44bn last year, while sales grew 10% to $7.69bn.

Profits were boosted from a 16% increase in demand for its anti-impotence drug Viagra and a 14% rise in sales for cholesterol medicine Lipitor.

Currency trouble

But Pfizer also warned that exchange rates would chip away at its profitability this year.

Pfizer Q2 results
Profits $1.89bn
Revenue $7.69bn
Johnson & Johnson
Profits$1.48bn
Revenue $8.34bn
The company said that the strength of the dollar - which makes its products more expensive overseas - would mean the loss of more than $900m in revenues during the course of the year.

Despite the challenges of a strong dollar and a slowing economy, the firm remains on course to hit its profits targets for the full year.

And it is set to spend up to $4.9bn on research and development this year, the highest level of investment in the industry.

Rival success

Rival drugs firm Johnson & Johnson also saw its profits rise, albeit less dramatically than Pfizer.

The New Jersey based firm posted profits of $1.48bn compared with $1.36bn a year ago.

It racked up special charges of $102m from the merger of California-based drug developer Alza.

But excluding these special charges, the companies earnings were in line with the expectations of analysts.

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08 Nov 00 | Business
Pfizer loses Viagra patent
26 May 01 | Health
Viagra 'works for women'
07 Feb 00 | Business
Drugs giants merge
19 Apr 01 | Africa
Drugs firms drop Aids case
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