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's megamerger pitch undermined by empty promises of the past

Back in early 2009, when Pfizer pulled off its big merger with Wyeth, the pharma giant boasted that the combined company "will have more resources to invest in research and development than any other biopharmaceutical company." Combined, they easily outspent every other Big Pharma research operation around the world. And the company touted its new prospects with the Alzheimer's R&D group at Wyeth, including the Phase III program for bapineuzumab.

British PM wants more Pfizer promises, but pharma's merger vows are fleeting

Reuters reports that British Prime Minister David Cameron is now demanding stronger guarantees that Pfizer's buyout of AstraZeneca won't decimate the country's science community and leave a host of employees jobless.

Waiting for U.S. pols to block the Pfizer-AstraZeneca megamerger? Forget about it

The uproar in the U.K. over Pfizer's proposed megamerger with AstraZeneca continues unabated. But thousands of other jobs are up for the chopping block in Sweden and the U.S., where the Financial Times ' correspondents are having a hard time finding politicians willing to jump the partisan divide to stop the deal.

10 big brands keep pumping out big bucks, with a little help from price hikes

Thanks to a steady flow of expensive new cancer therapies--and a public brouhaha over the cost of next-gen treatments for hepatitis C--drug prices are on center stage. We thought we'd look into the products whose prices have increased the most since 2007, to see how and why their prices are leaping.

The top R&D spenders in biopharma in 2013

Over the past few years, the bottom-line number on R&D spending among the big 10 pharma companies--about $70 billion--has remained about the same. But behind the steady collective figure lies...

Payers fret about the next drug doomsday: Pricey PCSK9 cholesterol meds

Pharmacy benefits managers say they're just as worried--perhaps even more so--by a coming class of cholesterol drugs known as PCSK9 inhibitors as they are about the new crop of hepatitis C treatments.

AstraZeneca unveils rosy forecast to persuade investors it's better off alone

Now, it's AstraZeneca's turn to tick off all the reasons why it shouldn't sell to Pfizer. Between new plans for existing products and its prospects for new ones, AstraZeneca says it will boost sales to $45 billion by 2023--about $20 billion higher than they are now.

Loud opposition to Pfizer's AstraZeneca takeover prompts Parliamentary probe

Britain's Parliament has summoned executives of Pfizer and AstraZeneca to a hearing, during which they will be grilled about their proposed merger, which has sparked broad opposition among Brits concerned about preserving jobs and R&D operations.

AstraZeneca promises investors a magnificent future--without Pfizer

Hoping to avoid Pfizer's megamerger pitch, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot promised investors today that the pharma giant has stocked up wisely on experimental drugs that will deliver tens of billions of dollars in future annual rewards. And now he's asking for enough time to deliver on that promise.

Global R&D centers brace for new blows as Pfizer circles AstraZeneca

When Pfizer set out to lobby for its proposed buyout of AstraZeneca, CEO Ian Read made a point of reassuring Britain's political establishment that it will keep a large portion of R&D operations in the U.K. But it never bothered to clarify what its plans are in Sweden.