Pfizer Incorporated is a major pharmaceutical company, which ranks number one in the world in sales. The company is based in New York City, and its research headquarters in Groton, Connecticut. It produces the number-one selling drug Lipitor (atorvastatin, used to lower blood cholesterol); the neuropathic pain/fibromyalgia drug Lyrica (pregabalin); the oral antifungal medication Diflucan (fluconazole), the long-acting antibiotic Zithromax (azithromycin), the well-known erectile dysfunction drug Viagra (sildenafil citrate), and the anti inflammatory Celebrex (celecoxib) (also known as Celebra in some countries outside USA and Canada, mainly in South America).

Pfizer's shares were made a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average on April 8, 2004.

Spending $7.65 billion in research & development (R&D) in 2006, Pfizer has the industry's largest pharmaceutical R&D organization: Pfizer Global Research and Development.


Pfizer is named after German-American cousins Charles Pfizer and Charles Erhardt who launched their chemicals business Charles Pfizer and Company from a building at the intersection of Harrison Avenue and Bartlett Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 1849. There, they produced an antiparasitic called santonin. This was an immediate success, although it was the production of citric acid that really kick-started Pfizer's growth in the 1880s. Pfizer continued to buy property to expand its lab and factory on the block bounded by Bartlett Street; Harrison Avenue; Gerry Street; and Flushing Avenue. That facility is still utilized for backshop purposes. Pfizer established its original administrative headquarters at 81 Maiden Lane in Manhattan.

By 1910, sales totaled nearly $3 million, and Pfizer became established as an expert in fermentation technology. These skills were applied to the mass production of penicillin during World War II, in response to an appeal from the U.S. government. The antibiotic was urgently needed to treat injured Allied soldiers, and it soon became known as "the miracle drug". In fact, most of the penicillin that went ashore with the troops on D-Day was made by Pfizer.

By the 1950s, Pfizer was established in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Iran, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

During the 1980s and 1990s Pfizer underwent a period of growth sustained by the discovery and marketing of multiple successful drugs (Zoloft, Lipitor, Norvasc, Zithromax, Aricept, Diflucan, Viagra).

In 2005, Pfizer was among 53 entities that contributed the maximum of $250,000 to the second inauguration of President George W. Bush.

Corporate Structure

Current members of the board of directors of Pfizer are: Michael S. Brown, M. Anthony Burns, Robert Burt, Don Cornwell, William H. Gray, Constance Horner, William Howell, Stanley Ikenberry, Jeff Kindler (chairman), George Lorch, Dana Mead, Ruth J. Simmons, and William Steere.

Pfizer is organized into four divisions: Human Health ($44.28B in 2005 sales), Consumer Healthcare ($3.87B in 2005 sales), Animal Health ($2.2B in 2005 sales), and Corporate Groups (which includes legal, finance, and HR). On June 26, 2006, Pfizer announced that it would sell its Consumer Healthcare unit (famous for well-known brands like Listerine, Nicorette, Visine, Sudafed and Neosporin) to Johnson & Johnson for $16.6B.

Merger and acquisition activity

Pfizer was relatively conservative with regard to mega-mergers through stock-for-stock transactions through most of its history until 2000. In that year, William Steere retired from the company and was succeeded by Henry McKinnell. As can be noted with any stock analysis tool, Pfizer's per share price (adjusted for splits) went from about $50 to $30 from 1999 to 2006 during McKinnell's tenure. With roughly 7 billion shares outstanding, this reflects a loss in value of $140 billion under McKinnell's leadership pursuing a strategy of growth via stock for stock acquisition. Many industry analysts, however, criticize McKinnell for diluting shareholder value with these expensive stock-for-stock acquisitions that obviously paid a premium for the underlying value of the acquired company. Furthermore, internal contributions to the pipeline did not replace declining value nor did these M&A activities. McKinnell received record compensation which he staunchly defended against critics.

Warner-Lambert / Parke-Davis / Agouron

In 2000, Pfizer merged with Warner-Lambert and acquired full rights to Lipitor (atorvastatin), the blockbuster statin previously jointly marketed by Warner-Lambert and Pfizer. Warner-Lambert was based in Morris Plains, New Jersey, where former headquarters became a major base of operations for Pfizer. The majority of the facility, and Pfizer's consumer healthcare department, was sold to Johnson and Johnson in 2006 for $16.6 billion dollars.

Parke-Davis was acquired by Warner-Lambert in 1970, which in turn was merged into Pfizer in 2000. The headquarters of Parke-Davis was sold several years ago. The Parke-Davis research facilities in Ann Arbor, Michigan are planned to close in 2008.

Agouron Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Warner Lambert in 1999 and is now a subsidiary of Pfizer. Nelfinavir (Viracept), an antiretroviral drug used in the treatment of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), was developed by Agouron Pharmaceuticals as part of a joint venture with Japan Tobacco, Inc.

Pharmacia / Upjohn / Searle

Searle was founded in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1888. The founder was Gideon Daniel Searle. In 1908, the company was incorporated in Chicago. In 1941, the company established headquarters in Skokie, Illinois. It was acquired by the Monsanto company, headquartered in St. Louis, in 1985.

The Upjohn Company was a pharmaceutical manufacturing firm founded in 1886 in Kalamazoo, Michigan by Dr. William E. Upjohn, an 1875 graduate of the University of Michigan medical school. The company was originally formed to make friable pills, which were specifically designed to be easily digested.

In 1995, Upjohn merged with Pharmacia, to form Pharmacia & Upjohn. Pharmacia was created in April 2000 through the merger of Pharmacia & Upjohn with the Monsanto Company and its G.D. Searle unit. The merged company was based in Peapack, New Jersey. The agricultural division was spun off from Pharmacia, as Monsanto, in preparation for the close of the acquisition by Pfizer.

In 2002, Pfizer merged with Pharmacia, a competitor, to become the largest pharmaceutical company in the world. The merger was again driven in part by the desire to acquire full rights to a blockbuster product, this time Celebrex (celecoxib), the COX-2 selective inhibitor previously jointly marketed by Searle (acquired by Pharmacia) and Pfizer. In the ensuing years, Pfizer commenced with a massive restructuring resulting in numerous site closures and loss of jobs including: Terre Haute, IN; Holland, MI; Groton, CT; Brooklyn, NY; Sandwich, UK and Puerto Rico.

In 2008, Pfizer announced 275 job cuts at the Kalamazoo manufacturing facility. Kalamazoo was previously the world headquarters for the UpJohn Company.


SUGEN, customarily written with capital letters, was founded in 1991 in Redwood City, California, as a partnership between the laboratories of Joseph Schlessinger at New York University Medical School and Axel Ullrich at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, with Steven Evans-Freke as a third co-founder. The name, SUGEN, comes from combining the first "S" in Schlessinger followed by the "U" in Ullrich with "GEN", which is a commonly used suffix for biotech companies (short for "GENetics"). The focus of the enterprise was to develop drugs targeting intracellular signaling pathways to treat cancer. Specifically, the company sought to discover competitive ATP small-molecule kinase inhibitors which would block common cancer pathways. Pharmacia acquired SUGEN in 1999, which merged with the pharmaceutical division of Monsanto in 2000 and was purchased by Pfizer in 2003. In 1999 Pharmacia took two of SUGEN's compounds into man in colon cancer clinical trials: SU5416.png (Semaxanib) and SU6668.png; the trials were discontinued, but both of these compounds were in the series that eventually led to SU11248.png. SUGEN's laboratories were closed in 2003 as part of the reorganization following Pfizer's purchase of Pharmacia. From the acquisition, SUGEN compounds SU11248 and SU14813 entered Pfizer's pipeline. SU11248 was approved by the FDA for treatment of GIST and RCC cancers, in January 2006, and is now marketed as Sutent (sunitinib). Sutent is packed by Plant in Ascoli Piceno, Italy.


Pfizer manufactures pharmaceutical medications and has an annual product marketing budget of $3 billion, which was the fourth-largest in the U.S. as of 2003. Pfizer employs 38,000 sales representatives worldwide.

In 2004, Pfizer’s Zoloft sales totaled $3.15 billion, contributing to 6.5% of Pfizer’s total revenue for 2004 and making it one of 19 drugs that generated more than $2 billion in revenues in the United States. In 2005, Zoloft sales totaled $3.5 billion, helping to make Pfizer one of the biggest drug makers in the world with approximately $51.3 billion in revenue for 2005. In 2005 Pfizer Inc. spent $7.4 billion on research and development, making Pfizer Global Research and Development the largest pharmaceutical research and development organization.

On September 24, 2007, Pfizer Inc. announced that the European Commission approved Celsentri (generic name, maraviroc and as Selzentry in the United States). Industry experts did forecast annual Celsentri sales of $500 million by 2011.

Development of Torcetrapib

Development of torcetrapib, a drug that increases production of HDL, or "good cholesterol", which reduces LDL thought to be correlated to heart disease, was cancelled on Saturday, December 2nd, 2006. The reason being that during a clinical trial test that involved 15,000 patients, more patients than expected died as a result of taking the medicine. A 60% increase in deaths was observed among patients taking torcetrapib and Lipitor versus taking Lipitor alone; there was no suggestion that the results called into question the safety of Lipitor. Pfizer has lost nearly $1 billion in investments on the failed drug, and December has seen the stocks and market value of the company plummet.


The following is a list of key prescription pharmaceutical products. The names shown are all registered trademarks of Pfizer Inc.

Animal health brands

The following is a partial list of Animal Health brands manufactured by Pfizer:

Legislation and litigation

Pfizer is party to a number of suits stemming from companies it has acquired or merged with, including asbestos litigation as well as litigation stemming from its medicinal products.

Kelo case

Pfizer's interest in obtaining property in New London, Connecticut for expanded facilities led to the Kelo v. New London case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Quigley Co.

Pfizer acquired Quigley in 1968, and the division sold asbestos-containing insulation products until the early 1970s. Asbestos victims and Pfizer have been negotiating a settlement deal which calls for Pfizer to pay $430 million to 80 percent of existing plaintiffs. It will also place an additional $535 million into an asbestos settlement trust that will compensate future plaintiffs as well as the remaining 20 percent of current plaintiffs with claims against Pfizer and Quigley. The compensation deal is worth $965 million all up.Of that $535 million, $405 million is in a 40-year note from Pfizer, while $100 million will come from insurance policies.

Bjork-Shiley heart valve

Pfizer purchased Shiley in 1979 at the onset of its Convexo-Concave valve ordeal, involving the Bjork-Shiley heart valve. Approximately 500 people died when defective valves failed and, in 1994, the United States ruled against Pfizer for ~$200 million.

Tort Reform Legislation Contributions

Pfizer proposed a ban on all lawsuits against manufacturers of body implant parts which was proposed in the United States Congress as part of tort reform legislation.

Off-label promotional practices

Access to pharmaceutical industry documents has revealed marketing strategies used to promote Neurontin for off-label use. In 1993, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved gabapentin (Neurontin, Pfizer) only for treatment of seizures. Warner-Lambert, which merged with Pfizer in 2000, used activities not usually associated with sales promotion, including continuing medical education and research, sponsored articles about the drug for the medical literature, and alleged suppression of unfavorable study results, to promote gabapentin. Within 5 years the drug was being widely used for the off-label treatment of pain and psychiatric conditions. In 2004, Warner-Lambert admitted to charges that it violated FDA regulations by promoting the drug for pain, psychiatric conditions, migraine, and other unapproved uses, and paid $430 million to resolve criminal and civil health care liability charges.


In 1996, an outbreak of measles, cholera, and bacterial meningitis occurred in Nigeria. Pfizer representatives traveled to Kano, Nigeria to assist in treating the affected population. An experimental drug, Trovafloxacin, was administered to approximately 100 infected children, while an additional 100 children were treated with Ceftriaxone. Five children receiving Trovafloxacin and six receiving traditional antibiotics died. In 2001, families of the children, as well as the governments of Kano and Nigeria, filed lawsuits regarding the treatment. According to the lawsuits, Pfizer administered the experimental drug (marketed as Trovan) without parental consent. The lawsuits also accuse Pfizer of using the outbreak to perform unapproved human testing, as well as allegedly under-dosing a control group being treated with traditional antibiotics in order to skew the results of the trial in favor of Trovan. Pfizer denied these claims, and subsequently produced an approval letter for testing from the Nigerian Ethics Committee; the Nigerian government claims it is a fake.

In 2007, Pfizer published a Statement of Defense letter. The letter makes several claims which deserve mention:18 million in Nigerian Naira (NGN) in donations. The figure in NGN is approximately $216,000 in 1996 US dollars (USD).The drug's oral form was presented as safer and easier to administer. The more likely reason for Pfizer's insistence on the oral form is the result of testing trovafloxacin intravenously in 1995, which found that the drug precipitated in saline, making it ineffective in patients receiving IV fluids. This is inferred from an FDA communication to ex-CEO William C. Steere, regarding Trovan's compatibility with saline etc., which was omitted from Trovan's labeling until January 1999.The administration of Trovan saved lives. According to the figures given by their own defense, 94.4% of patients receiving Trovan survived, while only 89.3% of untreated Nigerians survived. This is not a statistically significant difference, i.e. the success of the drug was negligible and possibly circumstantial.No unusual side effects, unrelated to meningitis, were observed after 4 weeks.''' In June 1999, the FDA released a public health statement warning against the use of Trovan except in life-or-death situations, due to high risk of liver failure. In some cases, liver damage occurred after only two days of treatment.

Research and development

Pfizer's human research and development organization is headquartered in New London, CT while their animal health research and development organization is headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The company has R&D labs in the following locations: Groton, Connecticut; Sandwich, England; Nagoya, Japan; Amboise, France; La Jolla, California; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Kalamazoo, Michigan; St. Louis, Missouri.

In 2004, Pfizer invested $7.68 billion in research and development, the largest investment in R&D by private biomedical research organization.

In 2007, Pfizer announced plans to close or sell on the Loughbeg API facility, located at Loughbeg, Ringaskiddy Co.Cork Ireland by mid to end of 2008

In 2007, Pfizer announced plans to completely close the Ann Arbor, Nagoya and Amboise Research facilities by the end of 2008, eliminating 2,160 jobs and idling the $300-million dollar Michigan facility, which had seen millions of dollars of expansion in recent years.

On June 18th, 2007 Pfizer announced it will move the Sandwich, England Animal Health Research (VMRD) division to Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Environmental Record

According to the EPA, Pfizer is among the top ten companies in America with the most numerous emissions sources. Also, the EPA ranked them among the top ten companies in America with the highest volume of emissions sources. Their 70-acre plant in New London, Connecticut, is home to a 20-acre landfill and two wastewater lagoons, adding to pollution in the area. According to the EPA, Pfizer is a main threat to the health of the residents and the environment of the New London area because of its toxic emissions into the air and water. The EPA has cited Pfizer on multiple occasions for illegal discharges into the Thames River and for hazardous waste violations on site. In addition, in June 2002, Pfizer was responsible for a chemical explosion that injured seven people and caused the evacuation of over 100 homes in the surrounding area.
Pfizer has also provided funding to the controversial Competitive Enterprise Institute who have been criticized for releasing misleading advertisements claiming that global warming is not a problem.

Employment & Diversity

Pfizer received a 100% rating on the Corporate Equality Index released by the Human Rights Campaign starting in 2004, the third year of the report. In 2007, Pfizer's Canadian division was named one of Canada's Top 100 Employers, as published in Maclean's magazine, the only research-based pharmaceutical company to receive this honor.

AIDS involvement

Pfizer has been involved in controversies over the medicine Diflucan (generic name fluconazole). In 1998, a campaign by Thai public health groups led to the elimination of the Pfizer monopoly on selling fluconazole in Thailand, and the price of the antifungal drug decreased from 200 baht to 6.5 baht in nine months, vastly expanding access to the medicine for AIDS patients. Faced with pressure for compulsory licenses to the Pfizer patent on this drug, Pfizer later established a program for limited access to the medicine in Africa. "In the United States, 46 percent of all new HIV/AIDS cases occur in the South. From 2003–2006 the Pfizer Foundation has funded 23 innovative HIV/AIDS prevention programs and strengthened the capacity of community-based organizations to reach and serve their communities. Since 2003, Pfizer has committed a $3 Million grant toward supporting the Southern HIV/AIDS Prevention Initiative.

However, there are criticisms of the way Pfizer is testing its AIDS drug. "The European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG), collection of activists from 31 European Countries, said the design of the trial for Pfizer's CCR5 inhibitor Maraviroc (previously known as UK-427,857) is putting people with HIV infection at unnecessary risk of developing AIDS.

On June 20 2007 Maraviroc received an approvable letter from the FDA advisory board. The letter was a product of expedited review of the novel HIV compound.

In 2001, Pfizer asked the U.S. government to pressure the Brazilian government against issuing compulsory licenses for the patents on the AIDS drug nelfinavir.

AIDS Drugs Manufactured by Pfizer

See also

Notes and references

  • “Nigeria: Court Adjourns Killer Drug Case Against Pfizer”. All Africa Global Media. 3 October 2007.
  • “Value of Black Bodies”. BlackWomb: History, Culture, and Power. 6 June, 2007.
  • “Double Standards in Nigerian Health”. The American. 26 June 2007.
  • “Nigeria Sues Pfizer Over Child Drug Trial”. West Africa Review. 10 June 2007.
  • “Pfizer Faces $8.5 Billion Suit Over Nigeria Drug Trial”. Yahoo News. 24 October 207.;_ylt=A9G_R3Hh_f9GI7QAUgCyBhIF
  • “Pfizer Statement Concerning 1996 Nigerian Clinical Study” Pfizer.

External links

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