Pfizer takes $2.3B Bextra charge

News of the Pfizer-Wyeth merger this morning drowned out some not so good news for the company. Just after announcing its $68 billion buyout of Wyeth, Pfizer published its 2008 fourth quarter earnings report. In it, Pfizer reveals a $2.3 billion charge to end investigations into allegations of off-label promotions of the company's COX-2 meds, including Bextra. That settlement caused a 90 percent reduction in Pfizer's 2008 net income, according to its financial report.

Pfizer settled another set of lawsuits involving Bextra for $894 million last October. But the company seems to have been hiding this news in plaint sight, says BNET, pointing out that Pfizer reported the DOJ investigations to the SEC, but never revealed them in press releases.

The company also announced a new cost-cutting initiative, which includes a 10 percent reduction in its workforce to span sales, manufacturing, research and development, as well as administrative positions. Manufacturing sites will also be pared down to 41, from the 46 currently in operation. Pfizer says it expects to take a charge of $6 billion to implement the changes.

- check out Pfizer's financial report
- get BNET's take
- read more at the Wall Street Journal