Ops emphasis lets Pfizer extend product life

Product enhancements and reformulations, opportunities in niche markets and better planning for competition as patents expire are tactics Pfizer is adopting at its 2-year-old Established Products business unit. The manufacturing operation in Portage, MI, works to grow sales of products that face competition from generics.

The most recent investment in the plant--the company's largest manufacturing operation--involves a $100-million modular sterile packaging and freeze-drying facility. It took three years to install and ramp up, will provide automated filling and formulation, and promises to keep a cap on operating costs while product yields remain high.

Pfizer had $10 billion in worldwide sales of off-patent products last year, according to a local press report. The company says it expects the global market for such products to grow to $500 billion by 2015, nearly double the 2006 figure.

Among such products produced in Portage are anti-inflammatory medicine Solu-Medrol, antibacterial treatment Zyvox and cancer treatment Camptosar.

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