The leader in pharma sales, Pfizer is well known thanks to several household name drugs, including Lipitor, Advil, Celebrex, Zithromax and the ever-abundant "little blue pill," Viagra. As the company looks at the looming Lipitor patent cliff, CEO Ian Read has been searching for new methods to keep revenue high, other than new approved drugs. Recently, the company has been considering spinning off portions of the company to create smaller, more profitable arms, a polar opposite of former CEO Jeffrey Kindler's bulk-up strategy of years past. The company's past purchases and mergers have included King Pharmaceuticals, Warner-Lambert, SUGEN and a $68 billion purchase, Wyeth, in 2009.

Wyeth provided Pfizer with an influx of 17 new drugs and vaccines, including Enbrel, Effexor, Prevnar and Pristiq, and Pfizer declared the merger made them "one of the most diversified companies in the global health care industry." And the company continues to move forward as it focuses on hot areas, including Alzheimer's, oncology and vaccines.

The company's legal woes have caused headaches as well. Pfizer has paid over $340 million in settlements for its menopause treatment, Prempro and has 1,200 cases pending for the anti-smoking drug Chantix. Back in 2009, it paid $1.3 billion for illegal marketing fines for the painkiller Bextra, making it the largest fine in United States history.

Pfizer has stayed in the top two on FiercePharma's annual layoffs list for the past three years, thanks in part to the company's 2009 megamerger with Wyeth, and the pressure could be felt for another five years. The company also placed second in the Top 15 R&D Budgets, with $7.4 billion in 2009. But those numbers will continue to slip as Pfizer looks towards development deals instead of in-house research.

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Pfizer beats out Novartis with FDA MenB nod

We have a winner. In a two-horse race to grab the first-ever U.S. approval for a meningitis B vaccine, Pfizer has emerged victorious, nabbing the FDA's blessing Wednesday.

Pfizer CEO: 'No reason' we can't do an inversion deal, Treasury rules or no

Pfizer CEO Ian Read makes no apologies for his interest in working a deal to move his tax home overseas. Despite the U.S. government's attempt to discourage tax inversions--like the one Pfizer would have achieved by buying AstraZeneca--Read says he's not deterred.

Pfizer to withdraw from partnership to develop tamper-proof oxycodone formulation

The prospects for Remoxy, the twice-rejected, investigational, extended-release oral formulation of oxycodone, look bleak. Pfizer is pulling out of a partnership with Durect to commercialize the candidate, after reviewing the results of 5 clinical trials conducted in response to the FDA's second complete response letter, issued in 2011.

Pfizer's Q3 beats, but flat sales mean CEO Read needs a big move

Pfizer is popping the confetti on earnings that beat analysts' expectations, bolstered by sales of cancer drugs and growth in emerging markets. But as for that much-talked about deal with AstraZeneca? No word for now.  

Pfizer finally abandons all hope in Remoxy, and Durect/Pain Therapeutics feel the sting

Pfizer had hung on to high hopes for the drug Remoxy long after the tamper-resistant pain therapy endured its second rejection at the hands of the FDA in 2011. It even officially re-upped for the late-stage comeback try last fall, committing to see it through a third try. But today Pain Therapeutics says that the pharma giant has finally thrown in the towel, handing back rights to the long-delayed treatment and washing its hands of any further development work.

Pfizer turns back Mylan's patent challenge to Sutent

Pfizer execs can sigh with relief now that a federal court has backed the company's patents on kidney cancer drug Sutent. The med has become increasingly important to Pfizer as sales of off-patent drugs have faded, and so it was alarming to the U.S. drugmaker when generics maker Mylan challenged the patent in 2010 and filed to make its own copy.

What does Pfizer's $11B buyback mean for the chances of an AstraZeneca bid?

Pfizer's $11 billion share buyback, announced late Thursday, gave investors something to focus on, rather than fretting about whether the company would renew its pursuit of AstraZeneca once the required cooling off period lapses in November. But some of them immediately started worrying about whether the buyback meant it was less likely Pfizer would do a big deal.

Will Pfizer rebid for AstraZeneca? Keep an eye on U.S. midterm election for clues

Will Pfizer come back at AstraZeneca? That's been the question of the summer, especially since the U.S. Treasury Department rolled out new rules for tax-inversion deals.

UPDATED: FDA panel say Pfizer's Chantix should continue to wear a 'black box' label

Pfizer's controversial smoking-cessation drug Chantix will continue to be stuck with a black-box warning label at least until late next year, assuming the U.S. Food and Drug Administration follows the recommendations of its experts.

Dialysis drives Baxter growth as it preps for Baxalta spinoff

The acquisition of dialysis company Gambro last September continues to fuel Baxter International's sales growth as it preps to spin off its biopharma division in 2015. But despite some stop-gap measures, it's not likely that Baxter will actually be able to meet the demand for its dialysis products until additional manufacturing capacity opens up in 2016.