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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Latest Headlines

Pfizer's CMO turns to TV appearances to put a 'human face' on pharma

Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall is the chief medical officer at Pfizer and one of the company's most recognized ambassadors. She's an outspoken advocate for Pfizer and the pharma industry in general, a champion of patient empowerment and a TV medical advice star. FiercePharmaMarketing recently conducted an email interview with the psychiatrist, who also serves by Obama administration appointment to the Board of Governors for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

Big Pharma warns scientific skills shortage could hold Britain back

Throughout the tough times faced by the British biopharma industry, the country could always point to its scientific excellence as a source of pride. Now, with more money swilling around, the sector should be enjoying better days, yet as financial woes have receded another resource shortage has come into view: The United Kingdom appears to be running low on scientists.

Kitov Pharma pitches Nasdaq IPO to fund advance of Pfizer drug remix

Kitov Pharma is looking to a Nasdaq IPO to fund the final steps in development of its osteoarthritis drug. The product, which is already deep into Phase III, is a combination of Pfizer's Celebrex and an antihypertensive drug, a mix Kitov thinks will enable it to avoid the black-box warnings that blight other treatments for osteoarthritis.

Can a megamerger remake Brent Saunders into an R&D champion? You bet

Brent Saunders has vaulted from Bausch & Lomb to Forest Labs and then on to the helm of a rapidly evolving Allergan. And with Allergan now in amiable discussions for a megamerger with Pfizer, the management team quarterback clearly has his sights set on the big prize: CEO of a greatly expanded pharma giant.

Pfizer, Allergan eyeing Saunders for CEO spot if a deal goes through: Bloomberg

Pfizer and Allergan are currently in "friendly" merger talks. And if they do tie the knot, it's looking like Allergan CEO Brent Saunders will take the helm.

Pfizer recalls 21,000 bottles of Xanax that may be too weak

Pfizer is recalling thousands of bottles of its anxiety drug Xanax, saying the drug may not be strong enough.

How badly does Pfizer need a tax inversion? Depends how you parse the numbers

How big is Pfizer's "tremendous disadvantage" from its U.S. tax rate? Bigger when you report your foreign earnings the way the pharma giant does. Pfizer told shareholders it had a 25.5% global tax rate in 2014, but had it reported its foreign earnings the way most U.S. companies do, that figure could have dropped to 7.5%, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Under Pfizer's gaze, Allergan's Saunders softens his tone on early-stage R&D

Allergan CEO Brent Saunders, who once called Big Pharma's perceived need for drug discovery "a fallacy," has come around on early-stage research, a change in tone that happens to coincide with Pfizer's stated interest in buying his company.

Allergan beefs up in aesthetics with implant purchase. Does M&A suitor Pfizer approve?

Big Pharma Allergan announced it is bulking up in aesthetics by purchasing London's Northwood Medical Innovation, maker of the earFold device for the correction of prominent ears, with or without asymmetry, in patients 7 or older. The deal marks the third Allergan device deal in recent months.

Pfizer greatly expands free-drugs assistance as 'stopgap' for struggling patients

Like the rest of Big Pharma over the past couple of months, Pfizer has been defending its U.S. drug prices against unprecedented criticism. CEO Ian Read recently pointed the finger at insurance companies that are using high deductibles, coinsurance and copays to limit their own spending and boost their bottom lines.