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 CEO thinks buys and swaps, with an eye toward future breakup

Pfizer CEO Ian Read not only isn't done with deals after his Hospira purchase; he's also looking at creative swaps, a la the Novartis-GlaxoSmithKline deals.

AstraZeneca's R&D boom gives EU a clean sweep of pipeline leaderboard

A 13% jump in the number of compounds in development at AstraZeneca has seen it leapfrog Pfizer ($PFE) to claim fourth place on Citeline's list of the biggest development pipelines. The switch means European Big Pharma companies occupy the top four spots, with GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Roche taking the podium positions.

Hospira may be just the tip of the iceberg for deal-hungry Pfizer

Pfizer may have agreed on Thursday to pick up injectable drugmaker Hospira for $17 billion, but don't expect it to stop its dealmaking there, analysts say.

Pfizer's still a likely buyer after its $17B 'hors d'oeuvre'

After signing up to acquire Hospira for $17 billion, Pfizer is just getting started, analysts say, pointing to Pfizer's failed quest for AstraZeneca as evidence that the drugmaker is looking for some transformational M&A.

UPDATED: Pfizer beefs up on biosimilars with $15B Hospira deal

Pfizer CEO Ian Read is dipping into the pharma giant's big reserve of cash to gobble up Hospira, one of the pioneers in the move to develop biosimilars of blockbuster biologics.

UPDATED: Hospira to merge with Pfizer for $16B amid device overhaul

Hospira is merging with Pfizer for about $16 billion as the company attempts to revive its long-beleaguered device business and cash in on a growing sterile injectables and biosimilars market.

Pfizer grabs Hospira's biosims, generic injectables in $15B takeover

Pfizer has snapped up Hospira, an injectables specialist, for $90 per share, or some $15 billion, plus debt assumption.

Pfizer wins early FDA approval for a potential cancer blockbuster

Pfizer picked up a speedy FDA nod for palbociclib, a breast cancer treatment with blockbuster potential, barreling toward the market as it works to carve out a bigger share of the oncology space.

Moody's: Big Pharmas face growing patent-loss threats, but some pipelines are improving

For the past couple of years, the pharma industry has had something of a reprieve from patent-cliff nightmares. But according to Moody's Investors Service, some companies face new threats to their sweet dreams.

Emerging market demand saves Irish Lipitor plant from closing

A Pfizer plant in Ireland that was slated to close last year is still running strong, as sales of blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor remain vibrant in some parts of the world three years after losing its U.S. patent.