Top global drugmakers Pfizer Inc
and Roche Holding AG , posted uninspiring results and gave lackluster forecasts on Thursday, sending shares in both companies down more than 2 percent.

Pfizer, the world's largest drugmaker, projected 2010 earnings below analysts' forecast, saying the strengthening dollar would crimp earnings this year.

Investors probably were expecting a little bit more, but I also think they've reset 2010 guidance to the point it's achievable if not overly ambitious, Miller Tabak analyst Les Funtleyder said.

New York-based Pfizer, reporting its first quarter that includes Wyeth, which was purchased last year for $67 billion as it braces for the loss of cholesterol treatment Lipitor, the world's top-selling drug.

Pfizer lowered its profit and revenue forecasts for 2012, when it will face generic competition to Lipitor, whose U.S. patent lapses in November 2011.

Roche missed full-year profit forecasts due to disappointing sales of key cancer drugs. The Swiss drugmaker confirmed its outlook for 2010 of double-digit earnings growth but said sales would rise at a mid-single-digit rate, which Bernstein analysts said was disappointing.

Pharmaceutical companies are being squeezed by crimped government healthcare budgets and the loss of patent protection on many previous blockbusters.

The industry has enjoyed a boost from the swine flu pandemic that began in 2009, helping companies like Roche that make flu drugs and others who provide vaccines. But the flu effect is temporary and already fading as the H1N1 pandemic turns out to be less deadly than originally feared.


Pfizer reported a fourth-quarter profit of $767 million, or 10 cents per share, compared with $266 million, or 4 cents per share, in the year-earlier period.

Excluding special items, Pfizer earned 49 cents per share, a penny short of the average estimate of analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Pfizer's revenue rose 34 percent to $16.5 billion, above Wall Street expectations of $15.9 billion.

The company said it expects full-year 2010 earnings of $2.10 to $2.20 per share. Analysts on average had expected $2.27 per share. Pfizer said the strengthening dollar will crimp earnings 6 cents per share more than it had expected, as it weakens the value of overseas sales.

Roche is better placed than many of its rivals, given its limited exposure to generic competition and its leading position in cancer medicine.

But it, too, failed to deliver for the bulls and just missed on profit forecasts, as sales of some key cancer drugs were hit by customer destocking following its buyout of U.S. biotech group Genentech.

Its core earnings per share rose 10 percent in 2009 to 12.19 Swiss francs ($11.52), just behind the average forecast of 12.33 francs in a Reuters poll after big sellers Avastin, MabThera and Herceptin netted less than expected.

Britain's GlaxoSmithKline will report its fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday and is expected to paint a picture of a difficult year ahead.

Pfizer's shares were down 2.3 percent at $18.62 in early New York Stock Exchange trading.

(Additional reporting by Ben Hirschler in London and Sam Cage in Basel; writing by Lewis Krauskopf; editing by Maureen Bavdek)