Pfizer: $800M in cuts to hit 4Q

Pfizer's pharma chief gave an update on the drugmaker's restructuring, and the news is that the company has slashed $1.2 billion off 2006 cost levels since the reorg was announced. And, Ian Read told analysts and investors, Pfizer expects to have cut a total of $2 billion by year's end. Most of the remaining reductions--all $800 million of them--will come in the fourth quarter. Is that a hint of more job cuts?

Meanwhile, the company is trying to boost revenues in advance of Lipitor's slide off patent in 2011. It's launching the stop-smoking remedy Chantix in nine additional countries. It's mounting a big ad push for Lyrica, targeting fibromyalgia patients. That antidepressant is the only drug now FDA-approved to treat the condition. And it's planning to tweak existing products that have gone off-patent or will soon--either by creating new dosages or seeking new uses or other changes--to the tune of $3 billion in addition revenues.

Plus, the drugmaker is growing its sales forces in emerging markets--are you listening, you laid-off and possibly bilingual pharma reps? The seven countries with the largest projected sales growth: Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, and Turkey. Read sees another $3 billion in new sales via this strategy. And in the U.S., Pfizer is switching from having a sales force for each individual drug, to having sales reps talk up a variety of Pfizer brands, depending on each doctor's needs.

- read the Orlando Sentinel story