Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Inc. posted 149.3 billion yen in sales for the business year that ended November 30, 1998, up 15 percent from the previous year, Leslie Patterson, president of the firm, announced on Thursday.

The Tokyo-based affiliate of Pfizer Inc. reported 28.2 billion yen in pretax profit, up 15 percent from the previous year, and its net profit grew 48 percent to 18.2 billion yen for the same period. The good performance is attributed to favorable sales of Norvasc, a drug used for hypertension and angina, a company spokesman said.

The firm aims to increase sales to 268 billion yen in 2002 and capture 4.7 percent of the Japanese market by launching one or two new drugs every year, Patterson said.

Concerning Viagra, the firm is awaiting a Health Ministry decision on whether the anti-impotence drug will be covered under national health insurance, the spokesman said.

With the ministry’s recent approval on manufacturing and selling Viagra in Japan, the drug is expected to debut by March 25 at the latest, the spokesman said. Last year, Viagra pulled in sales of $788 million worldwide, with sales in the United States accounting for about 90 percent, the spokesman said.

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