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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Hospira CEO Ball stands to reap $80M on Pfizer buyout

When Hospira's proxy was filed last year, CEO F. Michael Ball's $9.9 million in total compensation didn't even rank him among the top 15 highest paid biopharma execs. But with the $15 billion sale of his company to Pfizer, Ball will achieve that goal that CEOs strive for: the payout of the golden parachute. In his case, it is a package that adds up to more than $80 million.

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

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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.