Pfizer: The best-looking boy or biggest bully in the playground?

  • Power-player Pfizer has extended its control of the playground with the acquisition of Wyeth, but what impact will this new union really have on the industry landscape and how will it actually play out in reality?
Cast your mind back to carefree sunny school-days. Do you think Pfizer would be viewed through the sands of time as the best looking boy in school who was at the top of the pile, or as the school bully that left a trail of destruction in his wake?

No matter which is your view, this boy has decided to join forces with another heavyweight who he knows will make him a stronger entity on the playground. The acquisition of Wyeth by Pfizer will almost certainly ensure that Pfizer stays at the top of the Pharma food-chain in regard to prescription drug sales. A position that it has been forecast would fall from grace within the next 5 years.

Pfizer is cash-rich, but pipeline-poor. One of the primary motives for the Pfizer-Wyeth union is the fact that Pfizer's mature product portfolio is facing patent expiry. However, Wyeth will not solve Pfizer's impending Lipitor expiry threat, itself facing patent expiry of its own biggest drug, Effexor XR. The acquisition will be fruitful for Pfizer for reasons of expansion and growth into new areas of therapeutic focus and drug technology - vaccines and injectable biologic medicines will be diversified into. Pfizer will be able to streamline areas where it overlaps with Wyeth, creating a streamlined workforce and enabling cost-cutting.

When two people come together, inevitably certain things take a backseat to the new relationship. Pfizer and Wyeth becoming an item means they need to trim some fat, they haven't got time to interact with certain friends anymore. Speculation is rife already about job losses and some sources say that when the acquisition goes ahead, thousands of jobs could be at risk. An inconvenient truth.

In all the news coverage about this M&A, the benefits to Pfizer are continuously extolled but Wyeth rarely gets a mention. This is not a done deal, yet, but what do you forecast will be the outcome of this union?  What is your forecast on how the market will be affected by this fusion of superpowers?

The eyeforpharma Forecasting Excellence Summit in Madrid will look to this case when addressing issues in pharma planning strategies in 2009. To find out more on how to refocus your forecasting strategy go to:

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