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Pfizer's Third-Quarter Profits Drop As Effexor Venlafaxine Sales Drop

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New York, NYPfizer Inc.'s third-quarter profits dropped 70 percent as a result of merger-related and asbestos charges, as well as a decline in sales of the antidepressant Effexor Venlafaxine, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Pfizer, which is the world's largest drugmaker based on sales, has faced a number of setbacks as it has tried to introduce new drugs to offset its recent loss in revenue, according to the news provider.

The company's third-quarter earnings were hurt by asbestos litigation and other charges leveled against drugmaker Wyeth, which it acquired one year ago in order to help cut costs.

Additionally, sales of the antidepressant drug Effexor dropped to $175 million from $621 million last quarter, as the drug began to face generic competition from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. in July, according to the news source.

Ian Read, the head of Pfizer's biopharmaceutical businesses, told the news provider that the company has maintained approximately 30 percent of its prescriptions for Effexor, but that he expects that number to drop as more generic competition begins to enter the market.

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