US chemical company DuPont has announced that its first quarter earnings have dropped by 37 per cent due to the high costs of raw materials and poor results from its pharmaceuticals division. The company reported that its earnings before special items had dropped to $567m, or 54 cents a share, which was within the range expected by analysts but was 36 per cent lower than the $898m, or 85 cents a share, recorded for the same period in 2000.