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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UPDATED: Big deal, small deal, any kind of good deal would help ready Pfizer for the Big Split

No one can pin down Pfizer CEO Ian Read when it comes to whether the company will split up--not publicly, anyway. That word won't come till late next year at least. But repeated questioning from analysts during the company's first-quarter earnings call did yield some facts in the matter.

Hospira's Rocky Mount warning letter lifted; Pfizer benefits

Hospira has worked itself out from under the warning letters for its pharma manufacturing plants in Rocky Mount and Clayton, NC. That means that Pfizer, which is buying Hospira in a $17 billion deal, will not have that hanging over its head, although the company still has plenty of other regulatory issues with which Pfizer will have to contend.

80% leap for Pfizer's U.S. Prevnar sales trounces Q1 estimates

Pfizer's recent vaccines moves are beginning to pay off for the New York pharma. On Tuesday, riding expectation-breaking numbers for its lead jab, the business reported a 44% increase in first-quarter revenue.

Mylan recalls injectable cancer meds, most produced for Pfizer

Mylan is recalling 8 lots of injectable cancer drugs, most of them manufactured for Pfizer, after particulate was discovered in vials.

Prevnar, Eliquis help Pfizer beat forecasts even as it trims 2015 guidance

Pfizer may have had to whittle down its full-year revenue and profit forecasts on Tuesday on account of a stronger dollar. But as far as Q1 goes, the drugmaker churned out hauls in both categories that topped Wall Street's expectations.

Hospira has stellar Q1 as it works to resolve quality issues

Injectable drug specialist Hospira, which is being bought by Pfizer, blew past analysts' projections for its Q1 earnings today, but its manufacturing issues continue to be a drag. Just last week, the FDA said Hospira had issued a recall of an anesthetic because iron particles had been found in some vials.

Rare-disease specialist Sobi entertains suitors for potential $3.5B-plus deal

Orphan meds have been like catnip for drugmakers for several years, driving many an M&A deal. Now, Swedish Orphan Biovitrum might be next in line, at a price of more than $3.5 billion.