Pfizer taps new emerging markets chief as Simmons exits

Pfizer's ($PFE) emerging markets and off-patent drug business is getting a new chief. Olivier Brandicourt, who currently heads up Pfizer's primary care unit, will take over the job June 1. He'll replace David Simmons, who has led the established products unit since its inception, and has jumped ship to run Pharmaceutical Product Development, a contract research organization.

The job is a big one: Emerging markets and established products accounted for more than $16 billion of Pfizer's revenue last year, PPD's release notes. Emerging markets are key to pharma growth over the next several years, as growing populations and healthcare reforms drive drug sales growth there. And this at a time when growth in established markets, particularly Europe, is stagnant.

And in emerging markets, established products--aka off-patent drugs--are big, for the same reason they're big elsewhere: Cost. Most of Big Pharma aims to push branded generics in developing countries, to trade off their well-known company names. Especially in markets where counterfeiting is common and manufacturing standards are less stringent, a Big Pharma name like Pfizer's is a sort of Good Housekeeping seal. And in many countries, patients pay for their own drugs, so individuals' perceptions about quality are important.

Plus, Pfizer is eyeing emerging markets for growth in branded products, too. It's test-marketing a chewable formulation of Viagra in Mexico. It's aiming to fan out into Chinese provinces with its childhood vaccine Prevenar.

The only question: Whether the established products business might go the way of Pfizer's nutritional and animal health units. Recently, CEO Ian Read said he''d be open to hiving off other units in his bid to streamline the company. And analysts have said the generics business could be a logical choice.

.- get the release from Pfizer
- see PPD's release