Pfizer




Coordinates: 41°20′04″N 72°04′05″W / 41.3343429°N 72.06795°W / 41.3343429; -72.06795

Pfizer Inc. (/ˈfzər/ FY-zər)[2] is an American multinational pharmaceutical corporation headquartered on 42nd Street in Manhattan, New York City. It is named after its co-founder, Charles Pfizer.

Pfizer develops and produces medicines and vaccines for immunology, oncology, cardiology, endocrinology, and neurology. The company has several blockbuster drugs or products that each generate more than US$1 billion in annual revenues.[1]

In 2020, 52% of the company's revenues came from the United States, 6% came from each of China and Japan, and 36% came from other countries.[1]

The company is ranked 64th on the Fortune 500[3] and 49th on the Forbes Global 2000.[4]

Pfizer was a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market index from 2004 to August 2020.[5][6][7][8]

Prevnar 13, a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, had $5.9 billion in 2020 revenues; Ibrance (palbociclib) for treatment of breast cancer, had $5.4 billion in 2020 revenues; Eliquis (apixaban) to treat and prevent venous thrombosis and to prevent stroke in people with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation, had $4.9 billion in 2020 revenues; Xeljanz (tofacitinib) to treat rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ulcerative colitis, had $2.4 billion in 2020 revenues; Enbrel (etanercept) to treat autoimmune diseases, had $1.4 billion in 2020 revenues; Xtandi (enzalutamide) to treat prostate cancer, had $1.0 billion in 2020 revenues; and Vyndaqel/Vyndamax (tafamidis) to treat familial amyloid polyneuropathy, had $1.3 billion in 2020 revenues. Other high-revenue products by Pfizer include Chantix/Champix (varenicline) to treat nicotine addiction, had $919 million in 2020 revenues; Inlyta (axitinib), a tyrosine kinase inhibitor to inhibit growth of breast cancer, had $787 million in 2020 revenues; Nimenrix, a meningococcal vaccine, had $221 million in 2020 revenues; FSME/IMMUN-TicoVac, a tick-borne encephalitis vaccine, had $196 million in 2020 revenues; Genotropin, a growth hormone therapy, had $427 million in 2020 revenues; Somavert (pegvisomant), a growth hormone receptor antagonist used in the treatment of acromegaly, had $277 million in 2020 revenues; Toviaz (fesoterodine), an antimuscarinic drug to treat overactive bladders, had $252 million in 2020 revenues; Bone morphogenetic protein 2, had $274 million in 2020 revenues; Sutent (sunitinib), used to treat cancer, had $819 million in 2020 revenues; Xalkori (crizotinib), an anaplastic lymphoma kinase and c-ros oncogene 1 inhibitor for treatment of non-small cell lung carcinoma, had $544 million in 2020 revenues; Bosulif (bosutinib), a small molecule BCR-ABL and src tyrosine kinase inhibitor used for the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia, had $450 million in 2020 revenues; Retacrit, an erythropoiesis-stimulating agent, had $386 million in 2020 revenues; Lorbrena (lorlatinib), an anaplastic lymphoma kinase and c-ros oncogene 1 inhibitor used for the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer, had $204 million in 2020 revenues; Sulperazon (cefoperazone/sulbactam), an antibiotic used for the treatment of urinary tract infections, had $618 million in 2020 revenues; Medrol (methylprednisolone), a glucocorticoid, had $402 million in 2020 revenues; and Vfend (voriconazole), an antifungal medication, had $270 million in 2020 revenues.[1]

Pfizer was founded in 1849 by Charles Pfizer and Charles F. Erhart, two cousins who had immigrated to the United States from Ludwigsburg, Germany, the year before. The business produced chemical compounds, and was headquartered in New York City at Bartlett Street[9] in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where they produced an antiparasitic called santonin. This was an immediate success, although it was production of citric acid that led to Pfizer's growth in the 1880s. Pfizer continued to buy property in Williamsburg to expand its lab and factory, retaining offices on Flushing Avenue until the 1960s; the Brooklyn plant ultimately closed in 2009.[10] Following the success of citric acid, Pfizer (at the now-demolished 295 Washington Avenue) and Erhart (at 280 Washington Avenue) established their main residences in the nearby Clinton Hill district of Brooklyn, known for its concentration of Gilded Age wealth. Pfizer spent summers in similarly exclusive Newport, Rhode Island, where he died in 1906.

In 1881, Pfizer moved its administrative headquarters to 81 Maiden Lane in Manhattan, presaging the company's expansion to Chicago, Illinois a year later.[9][11] By 1906, sales exceeded $3 million.[12]

World War I caused a shortage of calcium citrate, which Pfizer imported from Italy for the manufacture of citric acid, and the company began a search for an alternative supply. Pfizer chemists learned of a fungus that ferments sugar to citric acid, and they were able to commercialize production of citric acid from this source in 1919. The company developed expertise in fermentation technology as a result. These skills were applied to the mass production of penicillin, an antibiotic, during World War II in response to the need to treat injured Allied soldiers.[13]

On June 2, 1942, the company incorporated in Delaware.[1]

Due to price declines for penicillin, Pfizer searched for new antibiotics with greater profit potential. Pfizer discovered oxytetracycline in 1950, and this changed the company from a manufacturer of fine chemicals to a research-based pharmaceutical company. Pfizer developed a drug discovery program focused on in vitro synthesis to augment its research in fermentation technology. In 1959, the company established an animal health division with a 700-acre (2.8 km2) farm and research facility in Terre Haute, Indiana.[13]

By the 1950s, Pfizer had established offices in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom. In 1960, the company moved its medical research laboratory operations out of New York City to a new facility in Groton, Connecticut. In 1980, Pfizer launched Feldene (piroxicam), a prescription anti-inflammatory medication that became Pfizer's first product to reach $1 billion in revenue.[12]

In 1965, John Powers, Jr. became chief executive officer of the company, succeeding John McKeen.[12]

As the area surrounding its Brooklyn plant fell into decline in the 1970s and 1980s, the company formed a public-private partnership with New York City that encompassed the construction of low- and middle-income housing, the refurbishment of apartment buildings for the homeless and the establishment of a charter school.[11]

In 1972, Edmund T. Pratt Jr. became chief executive officer of the company, succeeding John Powers, Jr.[12]

In 1981, the company received approval for Diflucan (fluconazole), the first oral treatment for severe fungal infections including candidiasis, blastomycosis, coccidiodomycosis, cryptococcosis, histoplasmosis, dermatophytosis, and pityriasis versicolor.[14] Fluconazole is recommended as a first-line treatment in invasive candidiasis[15] and is widely used in the prophylaxis of severe fungal infections in premature infants.[16] Fluconazole is on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines.[17] Patent protection ended in 2004 and 2005.[18]

In 1986, Pfizer acquired the worldwide rights to Zithromax (azithromycin), a macrolide antibiotic that is recommended by the Infectious Disease Society of America as a first line treatment for certain cases of community-acquired pneumonia, from Pliva.[19][20] Patent protection ended in 2005.[19]

In 1989, British Pfizer scientists Peter Dunn and Albert Wood created sildenafil (Viagra) for treating high blood pressure and angina, a chest pain associated with coronary artery disease. In 1991, it was patented in the United Kingdom as a heart medication. Early trials for the medication showed that it did not work for the treatment of heart disease, but volunteers in the clinical trials had increased erections several days after taking the drug. In was patented in the United States in 1996 and received approval by the Food and Drug Administration in March 1998. In December 1998, Pfizer hired Bob Dole as a spokesperson for the drug.[21] The patents for Viagra expired in 2020.[22]

In 1991, William C. Steere, Jr. became chief executive officer of the company, succeeding Edmund T. Pratt Jr.[23]

In 1991, Pfizer began marketing Zoloft (sertraline), an antidepressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class developed by Kenneth Koe. Sertraline is primarily prescribed for major depressive disorder in adult outpatients as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder in both adults and children. In 2005, the year before it became a generic drug, sales were over $3 billion and over 100 million people had been treated with the drug.[24] The patent expired in 2006.[25][26]

In 1996, the company entered into a co-marketing agreement with Warner–Lambert for atorvastatin (Lipitor), a statin for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. Lipitor was developed by Parke-Davis, a subsidiary of Warner–Lambert and first marketed in 1996.[27] Although atorvastatin was the fifth statin to be developed, clinical trials showed that atorvastatin caused a more dramatic reduction in LDL-C than the other statin drugs. From 1996 to 2012 under the trade name Lipitor, atorvastatin was the best-selling drug worldwide, with more than $125 billion in sales over approximately 14.5 years and often represented 25% of the revenues of the company.[28] The patent expired in 2011.[29]

In June 1996, Pfizer received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for Norvasc (amlodipine), an antihypertensive drug of the dihydropyridine calcium channel blocker class.[30] Amlodipine is on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, a list of the most important medication needed in a basic health system.[17] Patent protection ended in 2007.[31]

In 1996, in partnership with Pfizer, Eisai received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for donepezil under the brand Aricept for treatment of Alzheimer's disease.[32]

In June 2000, Pfizer acquired Warner–Lambert, founded in 1856 by William R. Warner, for $116 billion.[33][34] This created what was, at the time, the second-largest pharmaceutical company worldwide.[35]

In 2001, Henry McKinnell became chief executive officer of the company, replacing William C. Steere, Jr.[36]

In 2003, Pfizer merged with Pharmacia.[37] The Upjohn Company was a pharmaceutical manufacturing firm founded in 1886 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, by Dr. William E. Upjohn. The company was originally formed to make friable pills, which were 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-Gladstone, New Jersey. The agricultural division was spun off from Pharmacia, as Monsanto and in 2001, Pfizer completed the corporate spin-off of its 85% interest in Monsanto.[38]

SUGEN, a company focused on protein kinase inhibitors, was founded in 1991 in Redwood City, California, and acquired by Pharmacia in 1999. The company pioneered the use of ATP-mimetic small molecules to block signal transduction. The SUGEN facility was shut down in 2003 by Pfizer, with the loss of more than 300 jobs, and several programs were transferred to Pfizer. These included sunitinib (Sutent), which was approved for human use by the FDA in January 2006.[39][40] A related compound, SU11654 (Toceranib), was also approved for cancer in dogs, and the ALK inhibitor Crizotinib also grew out of a SUGEN program.[41][42]

As part of the Pharmacia acquisition in 2003, Pfizer acquired Searle, which developed Flagyl (metronidazole), a nitroimidazole antibiotic medication used particularly for anaerobic bacteria and protozoa. It is antibacterial against anaerobic organisms, an amoebicide, and an antiprotozoal.[43] It is on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines.[17] The original patent protection ended in 1982, but reformulation evergreening occurred thereafter.[44]

Searle also developed celecoxib (Celebrex) a COX-2 inhibitor and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat the pain and inflammation in osteoarthritis, acute pain in adults, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, painful menstruation, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.[45] Patent protection expired in 2014.[46]

In 2004, the company received approval for Lyrica (pregabalin), an anticonvulsant and anxiolytic medication used to treat epilepsy, neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, restless leg syndrome, and generalized anxiety disorder.[47][48][49] The United States patent on Lyrica was challenged by generic manufacturers and was upheld in 2014, extending the expiration date to 2018.[50] In 2016, the drug had sales of $4.2 billion.[51]

In July 2006, Jeff Kindler was named chief executive officer of the company, replacing Henry McKinnell.[36][52]

In October 2006, the company announced it would acquire PowerMed.[53]

On December 3, 2006, Pfizer ceased development of torcetrapib, a drug that increases production of HDL, or "good cholesterol", which reduces LDL thought to be correlated to heart disease. During a Phase III clinical trial involving 15,000 patients, more deaths than expected occurred in the group that took the medicine, and the mortality rate of patients taking the combination of torcetrapib and Lipitor (82 deaths during the study) was 60% higher than those taking Lipitor alone (52 deaths during the study). Lipitor alone was not implicated in the results, but Pfizer lost nearly $1 billion developing the failed drug and its stock price dropped 11% on the day of the announcement.[54][55][56][57]

Between 2007 and 2010, Pfizer spent $3.3 million on investigations and legal fees and recovered about $5.1 million, and had another $5 million of pending recoveries from civil lawsuits rather than criminal prosecution against makers of counterfeit prescription drugs. Pfizer has hired customs and narcotics experts worldwide to track down fakes and assemble evidence that can be used to pursue civil suits for trademark infringement.[58]

In July 2008, Pfizer announced 275 job cuts at its manufacturing facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Kalamazoo was previously the world headquarters of Upjohn Company.[59]

On October 15, 2009, Pfizer acquired Wyeth for $68 billion in cash and stock, including the assumption of debt, making Pfizer the largest pharmaceutical company in the world.[60][61][62][63][64]

The acquisition of Wyeth provided Pfizer with a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, trademarked Prevnar 13; this, along with Pneumosil, produced by the Serum Institute of India, and Synflorix, produced by GlaxoSmithKline, is used for the prevention of invasive pneumococcal infections. The introduction of the original, 7-valent version of the vaccine, developed by Wyeth in February 2000, led to a 75% reduction in the incidence of invasive pneumococcal infections among children under age 5 in the United States. Pfizer introduced an improved version of the vaccine in 2010, for which it was granted a patent in India in 2017. Prevnar 13 provides coverage of 13 bacterial variants, expanding beyond the original 7-valent version.[64] By 2012, the rate of invasive infections among children under age 5 had been reduced by an additional 50%.[65] [66]

In 2010, Ian Read was named chief executive officer of the company.[67]

In February 2011, Pfizer announced the closure of its UK research and development facility (formerly also a manufacturing plant) in Sandwich, Kent, which at the time employed 2,400 people.[68]

In March 2011, Pfizer acquired King Pharmaceuticals for $3.6 billion in cash. King produced emergency injectables such as the EpiPen.[69]

On September 4, 2012, the FDA approved bosutinib (Bosulif) for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), a rare type of leukemia and a blood and bone marrow disease that affects primarily older adults.[70]

In November 2012, Pfizer received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for Xeljanz, a tofacitinib, for rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis.[71] The drug had sales of $1.77 billion in 2018, and in January 2019, it was the top drug in the United States for direct-to-consumer advertising, passing adalimumab (Humira).[72]

On February 1, 2013, Zoetis, the Agriculture Division of Pfizer and later Pfizer Animal Health, became a public company via an initial public offering, raising $2.2 billion.[73][74][75] [76] Later in 2013, Pfizer completed the corporate spin-off of its remaining stake in Zoetis.[77][78]

In September 2014, the company acquired Innopharma for $225 million, plus up to $135 million in milestone payments, in a deal that expanded Pfizer's range of generic and injectable drugs.[79][80]

On January 5, 2015, the company announced it would acquire a controlling interest in Redvax, expanding its vaccine portfolio targeting human cytomegalovirus.[81]

In February 2015, the company received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for palbociclib (Ibrance) for treatment of certain types of breast cancer.[82][83]

In March 2015, the company announced it would restart its collaboration with Eli Lilly and Company surrounding the Phase III trial of Tanezumab.[84]

In May 2015, Pfizer and a Bar-Ilan University laboratory announced a partnership based on the development of medical DNA nanotechnology.[85]

In June 2015, the company acquired Nimenrix and Mencevax, meningococcal vaccines, from GlaxoSmithKline for around $130 million.[86]

In September 2015, Pfizer acquired Hospira for $17 billion, including the assumption of debt.[87][88][89][90][91][92] Hospira was the largest producer of generic injectable pharmaceuticals in the world.[93]

On November 23, 2015, Pfizer and Allergan announced a planned $160 billion merger, in the largest pharmaceutical deal ever and the third largest corporate merger in history. The proposed transaction contemplated that the merged company maintain Allergan's Republic of Ireland domicile, resulting in the new company being subject to corporation tax at the relatively low rate of 12.5%.[94] The deal was to constitute a reverse merger, whereby Allergan acquired Pfizer, with the new company then changing its name to "Pfizer, plc".[95][96][97] On April 6, 2016, Pfizer and Allergan terminated the merger agreement after the Obama administration and the United States Department of the Treasury introduced new laws intended to limit corporate inversions (the extent to which companies could move their headquarters overseas in order to reduce the amount of taxes they pay).[98][99]

In June 2016, the company acquired Anacor Pharmaceuticals for $5.2 billion, expanding its portfolio in both inflammation and immunology drugs areas.[100][101]

In August 2016, the company made a $40 million bid for the assets of BIND Therapeutics, which was in bankruptcy.[102] The same month, the company acquired Bamboo Therapeutics for $645 million, expanding its gene therapy offerings.[103]

In September 2016, the company acquired cancer drug-maker Medivation for $14 billion.[104][105][106]

In October 2016, the company licensed the anti-CTLA4 monoclonal antibody, ONC-392, from OncoImmune.[107][108]

In December 2016, Pfizer acquired AstraZeneca's small-molecule antibiotics business for $1.575 billion.[109][110][111]

In January 2018, Pfizer announced that it would end its work on research into treatments for Alzheimer's disease and Parkinsonism (a symptom of Parkinson's disease and other conditions). The company said about 300 researchers would lose their jobs.[112]

In July 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved enzalutamide, developed by Pfizer and Astellas Pharma for patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer.[113]

In July 2018, the company sold its headquarters at 219 East 42nd Street to Alexandria Real Estate Equities for $203 million in a leaseback transaction.[114]

In August 2018, Pfizer signed an agreement with BioNTech to conduct joint research and development activities regarding mRNA-based influenza vaccines.[115]

In October 2018, effective January 1, 2019, Albert Bourla was promoted to chief executive officer, succeeding Ian Read, his mentor.[116][117][118][119]

In July 2019, the company acquired Therachon for up to $810 million, expanding its rare disease portfolio through Therachon's recombinant human fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 compound, aimed at treating conditions such as achondroplasia.[120]

Also in July 2019, Pfizer acquired Array Biopharma for $10.6 billion, boosting its oncology pipeline.[121]

In August 2019, Pfizer merged its consumer health business with that of GlaxoSmithKline, into a joint venture owned 68% by GlaxoSmithKline and 32% by Pfizer, with plans to make it a public company. The transaction built on a 2018 transaction where GlaxoSmithKline acquired Novartis' stake in the GSK-Novartis consumer healthcare joint business.[122][123][124][125] The transaction followed negotiations with other companies including Reckitt Benckiser,[126] Sanofi, Johnson & Johnson,[127] and Procter & Gamble.[128]

In 2020, Pfizer partnered with BioNTech to study and develop COVID-19 mRNA vaccine candidates. On July 27, 2020, the companies announced the start of a global (except China) Phase II–III safety and efficacy clinical study to evaluate the mRNA vaccine candidate BNT162b2,[129] with plans to use Pfizer facilities to manufacture the vaccine.[130][131] In May 2020, Pfizer began testing four different COVID-19 vaccine variations. It planned to expand human trials to thousands of test patients by September 2020. The pharma company injected doses of the potential vaccine BNT162b2, which was developed by the German biotechnology company BioNTech, into the first human participants in the U.S. in early May. Based on the results, Pfizer said they "will be able to deliver millions of doses in the October time frame" and expects to produce hundreds of millions of doses in 2021.[132] In July 2020, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that two of the partners' four mRNA vaccine candidates had won fast track designation from the FDA.[133][134] The company began Phase III testing in the last week of July 2020, on 30,000 people and was slated to be paid $1.95 billion for 100 million doses of the vaccine by the United States government.[135] The U.S. deal priced two doses at $39 and the company stated that it would not lower the rates for other countries until the outbreak is no longer a pandemic.[136] Pfizer's CEO stated the companies in the private sector producing a vaccine should make a profit.[137] In September 2020, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that they had completed talks with the European Commission to provide an initial 200 million vaccine doses to the EU, with the option to supply another 100 million doses at a later date.[138][139] In October 2020, it was reported that Pfizer would start testing the COVID-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech on a broader range of subjects including children as young as 12. This would be the first coronavirus vaccine trial to include children in the United States.[140] In November 2020, Pfizer announced that BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, tested on 43,500 people, was found 90% effective, which was described as a "milestone". The vaccine had a nearly 95% efficacy rate with no serious side effects.[141][142] On November 20, 2020, Pfizer applied for Emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for the vaccine.[143] On December 2, 2020, the United Kingdom granted emergency use authorization to Pfizer–BioNTech's vaccine, becoming the first country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine that had been tested in a "large clinical trial" of "43,000 people".[144][145] On December 4, 2020, Bahrain became the second country to approve emergency use of the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for high-risk groups and later announced that the vaccine would be provided free to the public.[146][147] On December 8, 2020, Britain began initial distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine.[148] On December 9, 2020, British regulators told hospitals not to give the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to people prone to "serious" allergic reactions, after two National Health Service staffers had symptoms of "anaphylactoid reaction".[149] Also on December 9, 2020, Canada became the third country to approve the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, initially purchasing 20M doses and preserving the option to purchase up to 56M additional doses. An initial delivery of 249,000 doses was planned for December with up to 4M more doses planned for delivery by March 2021.[150][151] On December 10, 2020, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held an advisory committee meeting to discuss authorization of the vaccine.[152] An independent panel voted 17-4 in support of the FDA approving the vaccine.[152] On the same day, Saudi Arabia approved the vaccine, becoming the 4th country to do so.[147] The next day, December 11, 2020, the United States officially became the 5th country to approve use of BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine.[153] The FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and under the United States agreement with Pfizer, Pfizer agreed to an initial distribution of 2.9 million doses on an immediate basis and 100 million doses through March 2021, with the United States providing the vaccine free to the public.[154] On December 14, 2020, Singapore became one of the first in Asia to approve the vaccine through the Health Sciences Authority.[155] On December 21, 2020, the European Union European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended granting a conditional marketing authorisation for the vaccine "Comirnaty" developed by BioNTech and Pfizer.[156] On December 27, 2020, the European Union launched a coordinated measure to rollout the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which was distributed to all the 27 member states.[157] In February 2021, after a year long investigation relying on unnamed officials, Pfizer was accused by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) of employing "high-level bullying" against at least two Latin American countries during negotiations to acquire COVID-19 vaccines, including requesting that the countries put sovereign assets as collateral for payments.[158] According to TBIJ, these negotiation tactics resulted in a months long delay in Pfizer reaching a vaccine agreement with one country and a complete failure to reach agreements with two other countries, including Argentina and Brazil.[158]

In September 2020, the company acquired a 9.9% stake in CStone Pharmaceuticals for $200 million (HK$1.55 billion), helping to commercialise its anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody, CS1001.[159]

In October 2020, the company acquired Arixa Pharmaceuticals.[160]

In November 2020, using a Reverse Morris Trust structure, Pfizer merged its off-patent branded and generic drug business, known as Upjohn, with Mylan to form Viatris, owned 57% by Pfizer shareholders.[161][162][163]

On January 5, 2021, Pfizer introduced a new logo.[164]

In April 2021, Pfizer acquired Amplyx Pharmaceuticals and its anti-fungal compound Fosmanogepix (APX001).[165][166][167]

Pfizer has been accused of aggressive pharmaceutical marketing.[168][169][170]

In 1993, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved gabapentin only for treatment of seizures. Warner–Lambert, which merged with Pfizer in 2000, used continuing medical education and medical research, sponsored articles about the drug for the medical literature, and alleged suppression of unfavorable study results, to promote gabapentin. Within five years, the drug was being widely used for off-label uses such as treatment of pain and psychiatric conditions. Warner–Lambert admitted to violating FDA regulations by promoting the drug for pain, psychiatric conditions, migraine, and other unapproved uses.[171] In 2004, the company paid $430 million in one of the largest settlements to resolve criminal and civil health care liability charges. It was the first off-label promotion case successfully brought under the False Claims Act.[172] A Cochrane review concluded that gabapentin is ineffective in migraine prophylaxis.[173] The American Academy of Neurology rates it as having unproven efficacy, while the Canadian Headache Society and the European Federation of Neurological Societies rate its use as being supported by moderate and low-quality evidence.[174]

In September 2009, Pfizer pleaded guilty to the illegal marketing of arthritis drug valdecoxib (Bextra) and agreed to a $2.3 billion settlement, the largest health care fraud settlement at that time. Pfizer promoted the sale of the drug for several uses and dosages that the Food and Drug Administration specifically declined to approve due to safety concerns. The drug was pulled from the market in 2005.[175][176] It was Pfizer's fourth such settlement in a decade.[177][178][179] The payment included $1.3 billion in criminal penalties for felony violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and $1.0 billion to settle allegations it had illegally promoted the drugs for uses that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) leading to violations under the False Claims Act as reimbursements were requested from Federal and State programs. The criminal fine was the largest ever assessed in the United States to date.[176][177][178][179] Pfizer entered a corporate integrity agreement with the Office of Inspector General that required it to make substantial structural reforms within the company, and publish to its website its post approval commitments and a searchable database of all payments to physicians made by the company.[180]

Peter Rost was vice president in charge of the endocrinology division at Pharmacia before its acquisition by Pfizer. During that time he raised concerns internally about kickbacks and off-label marketing of Genotropin, Pharmacia's human growth hormone drug. Pfizer reported the Pharmacia marketing practices to the FDA and Department of Justice; Rost was unaware of this and filed an FCA lawsuit against Pfizer. Pfizer kept him employed, but isolated him until the FCA suit was unsealed in 2005. The Justice Department declined to intervene, and Pfizer fired him, and he filed a wrongful termination suit against Pfizer. Pfizer won a summary dismissal of the case, with the court ruling that the evidence showed Pfizer had decided to fire Rost prior to learning of his whistleblower activities.[181][182]

A "whistleblower suit" was filed in 2005 against Wyeth, which was acquired by Pfizer in 2009, alleging that the company illegally marketed sirolimus (Rapamune) for off-label uses, targeted specific doctors and medical facilities to increase sales of Rapamune, tried to get transplant patients to change from their transplant drugs to Rapamune, and specifically targeted African-Americans. According to the whistleblowers, Wyeth also provided doctors and hospitals that prescribed the drug with kickbacks such as grants, donations, and other money.[183] In 2013, the company pleaded guilty to criminal mis-branding violations under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. By August 2014, it had paid $491 million in civil and criminal penalties related to Rapamune.[184]

In June 2010, health insurance network Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) filed a lawsuit against Pfizer for allegedly illegally marketing drugs Bextra, Geodon and Lyrica. BCBS alleged that Pfizer used kickbacks and wrongly persuaded doctors to prescribe the drugs.[185][186] According to the lawsuit, Pfizer handed out 'misleading' materials on off-label uses, sent over 5,000 doctors on trips to the Caribbean or around the United States, and paid them $2,000 honoraria in return for listening to lectures about Bextra.[187][188] Despite Pfizer's claims that "the company's intent was pure" in fostering a legal exchange of information among doctors, an internal marketing plan revealed that Pfizer intended to train physicians "to serve as public relations spokespeople."[189] The case was settled in 2014 for $325 million.[190] Fearing that Pfizer is "too big to fail" and that prosecuting the company would result in disruptions to Medicare and Medicaid, federal prosecutors instead charged a subsidiary of a subsidiary of a subsidiary of Pfizer, which is "nothing more than a shell company whose only function is to plead guilty."[189]

According to Harper's Magazine publisher John R. MacArthur, Pfizer withdrew "between $400,000 and a million dollars" worth of ads from Harper's Magazine following an unflattering article on depression medication.[191]

The Quigley Company, which sold asbestos-containing insulation products until the early 1970s, was acquired by Pfizer in 1968. In June 2013, asbestos victims and Pfizer negotiated a settlement that required Pfizer to pay a total of $964 million: $430 million to 80% of existing plaintiffs and place an additional $535 million into a settlement trust that will compensate future plaintiffs as well as the remaining 20% of plaintiffs with claims against Pfizer and Quigley. Of that $535 million, $405 million is in a 40-year note from Pfizer, while $100 million is from insurance policies.[192]

Pfizer purchased Shiley in 1979, at the onset of its Convexo-Concave valve ordeal, involving the Bjork–Shiley valve. Approximately 500 people died when defective heart valves fractured and, in 1994, Pfizer agreed to pay $10.75 million to settle claims by the United States Department of Justice that the company lied to get approval for the valves.[193]

A federal lawsuit was filed by a scientist claiming she got an infection by a genetically modified lentivirus while working for Pfizer, resulting in intermittent paralysis.[194] A judge dismissed the case citing a lack of evidence that the illness was caused by the virus but the jury ruled that by firing the employee, Pfizer violated laws protecting freedom of speech and whistleblowers and awarded her $1.37 million.[195]

Brigham Young University (BYU) said a professor of chemistry, Dr. Daniel L. Simmons, discovered an enzyme in the 1990s that led towards development of Celebrex. BYU was originally seeking a 15% royalty on sales, equating to $9.7 billion. A research agreement had been made between BYU and Monsanto, whose pharmaceutical business was later acquired by Pfizer, to develop a better aspirin. The enzyme Dr. Simmons claims to have discovered would induce pain and inflammation while causing gastrointestinal problems and Celebrex is used to reduce those issues. A six-year battle ensued because BYU claimed that Pfizer did not give Dr. Simmons credit or compensation, while Pfizer claimed that it had met all obligations regarding the Monsanto agreement. In May 2012, Pfizer settled the allegations, agreeing to pay $450 million.[196]

In 1996, an outbreak of measles, cholera, and bacterial meningitis occurred in Nigeria. Pfizer representatives and personnel from a contract research organization (CRO) traveled to Kano to set up a clinical trial and administer an experimental antibiotic, trovafloxacin, to approximately 200 children.[197] Local Kano officials reported that more than fifty children died in the experiment, while many others developed mental and physical deformities.[198] The nature and frequency of both fatalities and other adverse outcomes were similar to those historically found among pediatric patients treated for meningitis in sub-Saharan Africa.[199] In 2001, families of the children, as well as the governments of Kano and Nigeria, filed lawsuits regarding the treatment.[200] According to Democracy Now!, "[r]esearchers did not obtain signed consent forms, and medical personnel said Pfizer did not tell parents their children were getting the experimental drug."[201] The lawsuits also accused 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. Nigerian medical personnel as well as at least one Pfizer physician said the trial was conducted without regulatory approval.[202][203]

In 2007, Pfizer published a Statement of Defense letter.[204] The letter stated that the drug's oral form was safer and easier to administer, that Trovan had been used safely in more than five thousand Americans prior to the Nigerian trial, that mortality in the patients treated by Pfizer was lower than that observed historically in African meningitis epidemics, and that no unusual side effects, unrelated to meningitis, were observed after four weeks.

In June 2010, the US Supreme Court rejected Pfizer's appeal against a ruling allowing lawsuits by the Nigerian families to proceed.[205]

In December 2010, a United States diplomatic cables leak was released by WikiLeaks indicating that Pfizer hired investigators to find evidence of corruption against Nigerian attorney general Aondoakaa to persuade him to drop legal action.[206] The Washington Post reporter Joe Stephens, who helped break the story in 2000, called these actions "dangerously close to blackmail".[201] In response, the company released a press statement describing the allegations as "preposterous" and saying that it acted in good faith.[207] Aondoakka, who had allegedly demanded bribes from Pfizer in return for a settlement of the case,[208] was declared unfit for office and had his U.S. visa revoked in association with corruption charges in 2010.[209][210]

Since 2000, the company has implemented more than 4,000 greenhouse gas reduction projects.[211]

In 2012, the company was named to the Carbon Disclosure Project's Carbon Leadership Index in recognition of its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.[212]

Pfizer has inherited Wyeth's liabilities in the American Cyanamid site in Bridgewater Township, New Jersey, a highly toxic EPA Superfund site. Pfizer has since attempted to remediate this land in order to clean and develop it for future profits and potential public uses.[213] The Sierra Club and the Edison Wetlands Association have opposed the cleanup plan, arguing that the area is subject to flooding, which could cause pollutants to leach. The EPA considers the plan the most reasonable from considerations of safety and cost-effectiveness, arguing that an alternative plan involving trucking contaminated soil off site could expose cleanup workers. The EPA's position is backed by the environmental watchdog group CRISIS.[214]

In June 2002, a chemical explosion at the Groton plant injured 7 people and caused the evacuation of more than 100 homes in the surrounding area.[215]

Pfizer is a member of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, a Washington D.C.-based coalition of more than 400 major companies and NGOs that advocates for a larger International Affairs budget, which funds American diplomatic, humanitarian, and development efforts abroad.[216]

In the first nine months of 2009, Pfizer spent over $16.3 million lobbying members of the United States Congress, making it the 6th largest lobbying interest in the US (following Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which ranked 4th but also represents Pfizer interests). A spokeswoman for Pfizer said the company "wanted to make sure our voice is heard in this conversation" in regards to the company's expenditure of $25 million in 2010 to lobby health care reform.[217]

According to United States Department of State cables released by WikiLeaks, Pfizer "lobbied against New Zealand getting a free trade agreement with the United States because it objected to New Zealand's restrictive drug buying rules and tried to get rid of New Zealand's former health minister", Helen Clark, in 1990.[218]

Scott Gottlieb, who resigned as FDA commissioner in April 2019, joined the Pfizer board of directors three months later, in July 2019.[219]

Coordinates: 41°20′04″N 72°04′05″W / 41.3343429°N 72.06795°W / 41.3343429; -72.06795

Pfizer Inc. (/ˈfzər/ FY-zər)[2] is an American multinational pharmaceutical corporation headquartered on 42nd Street in Manhattan, New York City. It is named after its co-founder, Charles Pfizer.

Pfizer develops and produces medicines and vaccines for immunology, oncology, cardiology, endocrinology, and neurology. The company has several blockbuster drugs or products that each generate more than US$1 billion in annual revenues.[1]

In 2020, 52% of the company's revenues came from the United States, 6% came from each of China and Japan, and 36% came from other countries.[1]

The company is ranked 64th on the Fortune 500[3] and 49th on the Forbes Global 2000.[4]

Pfizer was a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market index from 2004 to August 2020.[5][6][7][8]

Prevnar 13, a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, had $5.9 billion in 2020 revenues; Ibrance (palbociclib) for treatment of breast cancer, had $5.4 billion in 2020 revenues; Eliquis (apixaban) to treat and prevent venous thrombosis and to prevent stroke in people with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation, had $4.9 billion in 2020 revenues; Xeljanz (tofacitinib) to treat rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ulcerative colitis, had $2.4 billion in 2020 revenues; Enbrel (etanercept) to treat autoimmune diseases, had $1.4 billion in 2020 revenues; Xtandi (enzalutamide) to treat prostate cancer, had $1.0 billion in 2020 revenues; and Vyndaqel/Vyndamax (tafamidis) to treat familial amyloid polyneuropathy, had $1.3 billion in 2020 revenues. Other high-revenue products by Pfizer include Chantix/Champix (varenicline) to treat nicotine addiction, had $919 million in 2020 revenues; Inlyta (axitinib), a tyrosine kinase inhibitor to inhibit growth of breast cancer, had $787 million in 2020 revenues; Nimenrix, a meningococcal vaccine, had $221 million in 2020 revenues; FSME/IMMUN-TicoVac, a tick-borne encephalitis vaccine, had $196 million in 2020 revenues; Genotropin, a growth hormone therapy, had $427 million in 2020 revenues; Somavert (pegvisomant), a growth hormone receptor antagonist used in the treatment of acromegaly, had $277 million in 2020 revenues; Toviaz (fesoterodine), an antimuscarinic drug to treat overactive bladders, had $252 million in 2020 revenues; Bone morphogenetic protein 2, had $274 million in 2020 revenues; Sutent (sunitinib), used to treat cancer, had $819 million in 2020 revenues; Xalkori (crizotinib), an anaplastic lymphoma kinase and c-ros oncogene 1 inhibitor for treatment of non-small cell lung carcinoma, had $544 million in 2020 revenues; Bosulif (bosutinib), a small molecule BCR-ABL and src tyrosine kinase inhibitor used for the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia, had $450 million in 2020 revenues; Retacrit, an erythropoiesis-stimulating agent, had $386 million in 2020 revenues; Lorbrena (lorlatinib), an anaplastic lymphoma kinase and c-ros oncogene 1 inhibitor used for the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer, had $204 million in 2020 revenues; Sulperazon (cefoperazone/sulbactam), an antibiotic used for the treatment of urinary tract infections, had $618 million in 2020 revenues; Medrol (methylprednisolone), a glucocorticoid, had $402 million in 2020 revenues; and Vfend (voriconazole), an antifungal medication, had $270 million in 2020 revenues.[1]

Pfizer was founded in 1849 by Charles Pfizer and Charles F. Erhart, two cousins who had immigrated to the United States from Ludwigsburg, Germany, the year before. The business produced chemical compounds, and was headquartered in New York City at Bartlett Street[9] in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where they produced an antiparasitic called santonin. This was an immediate success, although it was production of citric acid that led to Pfizer's growth in the 1880s. Pfizer continued to buy property in Williamsburg to expand its lab and factory, retaining offices on Flushing Avenue until the 1960s; the Brooklyn plant ultimately closed in 2009.[10] Following the success of citric acid, Pfizer (at the now-demolished 295 Washington Avenue) and Erhart (at 280 Washington Avenue) established their main residences in the nearby Clinton Hill district of Brooklyn, known for its concentration of Gilded Age wealth. Pfizer spent summers in similarly exclusive Newport, Rhode Island, where he died in 1906.

In 1881, Pfizer moved its administrative headquarters to 81 Maiden Lane in Manhattan, presaging the company's expansion to Chicago, Illinois a year later.[9][11] By 1906, sales exceeded $3 million.[12]

World War I caused a shortage of calcium citrate, which Pfizer imported from Italy for the manufacture of citric acid, and the company began a search for an alternative supply. Pfizer chemists learned of a fungus that ferments sugar to citric acid, and they were able to commercialize production of citric acid from this source in 1919. The company developed expertise in fermentation technology as a result. These skills were applied to the mass production of penicillin, an antibiotic, during World War II in response to the need to treat injured Allied soldiers.[13]

On June 2, 1942, the company incorporated in Delaware.[1]

Due to price declines for penicillin, Pfizer searched for new antibiotics with greater profit potential. Pfizer discovered oxytetracycline in 1950, and this changed the company from a manufacturer of fine chemicals to a research-based pharmaceutical company. Pfizer developed a drug discovery program focused on in vitro synthesis to augment its research in fermentation technology. In 1959, the company established an animal health division with a 700-acre (2.8 km2) farm and research facility in Terre Haute, Indiana.[13]

By the 1950s, Pfizer had established offices in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom. In 1960, the company moved its medical research laboratory operations out of New York City to a new facility in Groton, Connecticut. In 1980, Pfizer launched Feldene (piroxicam), a prescription anti-inflammatory medication that became Pfizer's first product to reach $1 billion in revenue.[12]

In 1965, John Powers, Jr. became chief executive officer of the company, succeeding John McKeen.[12]

As the area surrounding its Brooklyn plant fell into decline in the 1970s and 1980s, the company formed a public-private partnership with New York City that encompassed the construction of low- and middle-income housing, the refurbishment of apartment buildings for the homeless and the establishment of a charter school.[11]

In 1972, Edmund T. Pratt Jr. became chief executive officer of the company, succeeding John Powers, Jr.[12]

In 1981, the company received approval for Diflucan (fluconazole), the first oral treatment for severe fungal infections including candidiasis, blastomycosis, coccidiodomycosis, cryptococcosis, histoplasmosis, dermatophytosis, and pityriasis versicolor.[14] Fluconazole is recommended as a first-line treatment in invasive candidiasis[15] and is widely used in the prophylaxis of severe fungal infections in premature infants.[16] Fluconazole is on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines.[17] Patent protection ended in 2004 and 2005.[18]

In 1986, Pfizer acquired the worldwide rights to Zithromax (azithromycin), a macrolide antibiotic that is recommended by the Infectious Disease Society of America as a first line treatment for certain cases of community-acquired pneumonia, from Pliva.[19][20] Patent protection ended in 2005.[19]

In 1989, British Pfizer scientists Peter Dunn and Albert Wood created sildenafil (Viagra) for treating high blood pressure and angina, a chest pain associated with coronary artery disease. In 1991, it was patented in the United Kingdom as a heart medication. Early trials for the medication showed that it did not work for the treatment of heart disease, but volunteers in the clinical trials had increased erections several days after taking the drug. In was patented in the United States in 1996 and received approval by the Food and Drug Administration in March 1998. In December 1998, Pfizer hired Bob Dole as a spokesperson for the drug.[21] The patents for Viagra expired in 2020.[22]

In 1991, William C. Steere, Jr. became chief executive officer of the company, succeeding Edmund T. Pratt Jr.[23]

In 1991, Pfizer began marketing Zoloft (sertraline), an antidepressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class developed by Kenneth Koe. Sertraline is primarily prescribed for major depressive disorder in adult outpatients as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder in both adults and children. In 2005, the year before it became a generic drug, sales were over $3 billion and over 100 million people had been treated with the drug.[24] The patent expired in 2006.[25][26]

In 1996, the company entered into a co-marketing agreement with Warner–Lambert for atorvastatin (Lipitor), a statin for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. Lipitor was developed by Parke-Davis, a subsidiary of Warner–Lambert and first marketed in 1996.[27] Although atorvastatin was the fifth statin to be developed, clinical trials showed that atorvastatin caused a more dramatic reduction in LDL-C than the other statin drugs. From 1996 to 2012 under the trade name Lipitor, atorvastatin was the best-selling drug worldwide, with more than $125 billion in sales over approximately 14.5 years and often represented 25% of the revenues of the company.[28] The patent expired in 2011.[29]

In June 1996, Pfizer received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for Norvasc (amlodipine), an antihypertensive drug of the dihydropyridine calcium channel blocker class.[30] Amlodipine is on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, a list of the most important medication needed in a basic health system.[17] Patent protection ended in 2007.[31]

In 1996, in partnership with Pfizer, Eisai received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for donepezil under the brand Aricept for treatment of Alzheimer's disease.[32]

In June 2000, Pfizer acquired Warner–Lambert, founded in 1856 by William R. Warner, for $116 billion.[33][34] This created what was, at the time, the second-largest pharmaceutical company worldwide.[35]

In 2001, Henry McKinnell became chief executive officer of the company, replacing William C. Steere, Jr.[36]

In 2003, Pfizer merged with Pharmacia.[37] The Upjohn Company was a pharmaceutical manufacturing firm founded in 1886 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, by Dr. William E. Upjohn. The company was originally formed to make friable pills, which were 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-Gladstone, New Jersey. The agricultural division was spun off from Pharmacia, as Monsanto and in 2001, Pfizer completed the corporate spin-off of its 85% interest in Monsanto.[38]

SUGEN, a company focused on protein kinase inhibitors, was founded in 1991 in Redwood City, California, and acquired by Pharmacia in 1999. The company pioneered the use of ATP-mimetic small molecules to block signal transduction. The SUGEN facility was shut down in 2003 by Pfizer, with the loss of more than 300 jobs, and several programs were transferred to Pfizer. These included sunitinib (Sutent), which was approved for human use by the FDA in January 2006.[39][40] A related compound, SU11654 (Toceranib), was also approved for cancer in dogs, and the ALK inhibitor Crizotinib also grew out of a SUGEN program.[41][42]

As part of the Pharmacia acquisition in 2003, Pfizer acquired Searle, which developed Flagyl (metronidazole), a nitroimidazole antibiotic medication used particularly for anaerobic bacteria and protozoa. It is antibacterial against anaerobic organisms, an amoebicide, and an antiprotozoal.[43] It is on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines.[17] The original patent protection ended in 1982, but reformulation evergreening occurred thereafter.[44]

Searle also developed celecoxib (Celebrex) a COX-2 inhibitor and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat the pain and inflammation in osteoarthritis, acute pain in adults, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, painful menstruation, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.[45] Patent protection expired in 2014.[46]

In 2004, the company received approval for Lyrica (pregabalin), an anticonvulsant and anxiolytic medication used to treat epilepsy, neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, restless leg syndrome, and generalized anxiety disorder.[47][48][49] The United States patent on Lyrica was challenged by generic manufacturers and was upheld in 2014, extending the expiration date to 2018.[50] In 2016, the drug had sales of $4.2 billion.[51]

In July 2006, Jeff Kindler was named chief executive officer of the company, replacing Henry McKinnell.[36][52]

In October 2006, the company announced it would acquire PowerMed.[53]

On December 3, 2006, Pfizer ceased development of torcetrapib, a drug that increases production of HDL, or "good cholesterol", which reduces LDL thought to be correlated to heart disease. During a Phase III clinical trial involving 15,000 patients, more deaths than expected occurred in the group that took the medicine, and the mortality rate of patients taking the combination of torcetrapib and Lipitor (82 deaths during the study) was 60% higher than those taking Lipitor alone (52 deaths during the study). Lipitor alone was not implicated in the results, but Pfizer lost nearly $1 billion developing the failed drug and its stock price dropped 11% on the day of the announcement.[54][55][56][57]

Between 2007 and 2010, Pfizer spent $3.3 million on investigations and legal fees and recovered about $5.1 million, and had another $5 million of pending recoveries from civil lawsuits rather than criminal prosecution against makers of counterfeit prescription drugs. Pfizer has hired customs and narcotics experts worldwide to track down fakes and assemble evidence that can be used to pursue civil suits for trademark infringement.[58]

In July 2008, Pfizer announced 275 job cuts at its manufacturing facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Kalamazoo was previously the world headquarters of Upjohn Company.[59]

On October 15, 2009, Pfizer acquired Wyeth for $68 billion in cash and stock, including the assumption of debt, making Pfizer the largest pharmaceutical company in the world.[60][61][62][63][64]

The acquisition of Wyeth provided Pfizer with a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, trademarked Prevnar 13; this, along with Pneumosil, produced by the Serum Institute of India, and Synflorix, produced by GlaxoSmithKline, is used for the prevention of invasive pneumococcal infections. The introduction of the original, 7-valent version of the vaccine, developed by Wyeth in February 2000, led to a 75% reduction in the incidence of invasive pneumococcal infections among children under age 5 in the United States. Pfizer introduced an improved version of the vaccine in 2010, for which it was granted a patent in India in 2017. Prevnar 13 provides coverage of 13 bacterial variants, expanding beyond the original 7-valent version.[64] By 2012, the rate of invasive infections among children under age 5 had been reduced by an additional 50%.[65] [66]

In 2010, Ian Read was named chief executive officer of the company.[67]

In February 2011, Pfizer announced the closure of its UK research and development facility (formerly also a manufacturing plant) in Sandwich, Kent, which at the time employed 2,400 people.[68]

In March 2011, Pfizer acquired King Pharmaceuticals for $3.6 billion in cash. King produced emergency injectables such as the EpiPen.[69]

On September 4, 2012, the FDA approved bosutinib (Bosulif) for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), a rare type of leukemia and a blood and bone marrow disease that affects primarily older adults.[70]

In November 2012, Pfizer received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for Xeljanz, a tofacitinib, for rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis.[71] The drug had sales of $1.77 billion in 2018, and in January 2019, it was the top drug in the United States for direct-to-consumer advertising, passing adalimumab (Humira).[72]

On February 1, 2013, Zoetis, the Agriculture Division of Pfizer and later Pfizer Animal Health, became a public company via an initial public offering, raising $2.2 billion.[73][74][75] [76] Later in 2013, Pfizer completed the corporate spin-off of its remaining stake in Zoetis.[77][78]

In September 2014, the company acquired Innopharma for $225 million, plus up to $135 million in milestone payments, in a deal that expanded Pfizer's range of generic and injectable drugs.[79][80]

On January 5, 2015, the company announced it would acquire a controlling interest in Redvax, expanding its vaccine portfolio targeting human cytomegalovirus.[81]

In February 2015, the company received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for palbociclib (Ibrance) for treatment of certain types of breast cancer.[82][83]

In March 2015, the company announced it would restart its collaboration with Eli Lilly and Company surrounding the Phase III trial of Tanezumab.[84]

In May 2015, Pfizer and a Bar-Ilan University laboratory announced a partnership based on the development of medical DNA nanotechnology.[85]

In June 2015, the company acquired Nimenrix and Mencevax, meningococcal vaccines, from GlaxoSmithKline for around $130 million.[86]

In September 2015, Pfizer acquired Hospira for $17 billion, including the assumption of debt.[87][88][89][90][91][92] Hospira was the largest producer of generic injectable pharmaceuticals in the world.[93]

On November 23, 2015, Pfizer and Allergan announced a planned $160 billion merger, in the largest pharmaceutical deal ever and the third largest corporate merger in history. The proposed transaction contemplated that the merged company maintain Allergan's Republic of Ireland domicile, resulting in the new company being subject to corporation tax at the relatively low rate of 12.5%.[94] The deal was to constitute a reverse merger, whereby Allergan acquired Pfizer, with the new company then changing its name to "Pfizer, plc".[95][96][97] On April 6, 2016, Pfizer and Allergan terminated the merger agreement after the Obama administration and the United States Department of the Treasury introduced new laws intended to limit corporate inversions (the extent to which companies could move their headquarters overseas in order to reduce the amount of taxes they pay).[98][99]

In June 2016, the company acquired Anacor Pharmaceuticals for $5.2 billion, expanding its portfolio in both inflammation and immunology drugs areas.[100][101]

In August 2016, the company made a $40 million bid for the assets of BIND Therapeutics, which was in bankruptcy.[102] The same month, the company acquired Bamboo Therapeutics for $645 million, expanding its gene therapy offerings.[103]

In September 2016, the company acquired cancer drug-maker Medivation for $14 billion.[104][105][106]

In October 2016, the company licensed the anti-CTLA4 monoclonal antibody, ONC-392, from OncoImmune.[107][108]

In December 2016, Pfizer acquired AstraZeneca's small-molecule antibiotics business for $1.575 billion.[109][110][111]

In January 2018, Pfizer announced that it would end its work on research into treatments for Alzheimer's disease and Parkinsonism (a symptom of Parkinson's disease and other conditions). The company said about 300 researchers would lose their jobs.[112]

In July 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved enzalutamide, developed by Pfizer and Astellas Pharma for patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer.[113]

In July 2018, the company sold its headquarters at 219 East 42nd Street to Alexandria Real Estate Equities for $203 million in a leaseback transaction.[114]

In August 2018, Pfizer signed an agreement with BioNTech to conduct joint research and development activities regarding mRNA-based influenza vaccines.[115]

In October 2018, effective January 1, 2019, Albert Bourla was promoted to chief executive officer, succeeding Ian Read, his mentor.[116][117][118][119]

In July 2019, the company acquired Therachon for up to $810 million, expanding its rare disease portfolio through Therachon's recombinant human fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 compound, aimed at treating conditions such as achondroplasia.[120]

Also in July 2019, Pfizer acquired Array Biopharma for $10.6 billion, boosting its oncology pipeline.[121]

In August 2019, Pfizer merged its consumer health business with that of GlaxoSmithKline, into a joint venture owned 68% by GlaxoSmithKline and 32% by Pfizer, with plans to make it a public company. The transaction built on a 2018 transaction where GlaxoSmithKline acquired Novartis' stake in the GSK-Novartis consumer healthcare joint business.[122][123][124][125] The transaction followed negotiations with other companies including Reckitt Benckiser,[126] Sanofi, Johnson & Johnson,[127] and Procter & Gamble.[128]

In 2020, Pfizer partnered with BioNTech to study and develop COVID-19 mRNA vaccine candidates. On July 27, 2020, the companies announced the start of a global (except China) Phase II–III safety and efficacy clinical study to evaluate the mRNA vaccine candidate BNT162b2,[129] with plans to use Pfizer facilities to manufacture the vaccine.[130][131] In May 2020, Pfizer began testing four different COVID-19 vaccine variations. It planned to expand human trials to thousands of test patients by September 2020. The pharma company injected doses of the potential vaccine BNT162b2, which was developed by the German biotechnology company BioNTech, into the first human participants in the U.S. in early May. Based on the results, Pfizer said they "will be able to deliver millions of doses in the October time frame" and expects to produce hundreds of millions of doses in 2021.[132] In July 2020, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that two of the partners' four mRNA vaccine candidates had won fast track designation from the FDA.[133][134] The company began Phase III testing in the last week of July 2020, on 30,000 people and was slated to be paid $1.95 billion for 100 million doses of the vaccine by the United States government.[135] The U.S. deal priced two doses at $39 and the company stated that it would not lower the rates for other countries until the outbreak is no longer a pandemic.[136] Pfizer's CEO stated the companies in the private sector producing a vaccine should make a profit.[137] In September 2020, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that they had completed talks with the European Commission to provide an initial 200 million vaccine doses to the EU, with the option to supply another 100 million doses at a later date.[138][139] In October 2020, it was reported that Pfizer would start testing the COVID-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech on a broader range of subjects including children as young as 12. This would be the first coronavirus vaccine trial to include children in the United States.[140] In November 2020, Pfizer announced that BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, tested on 43,500 people, was found 90% effective, which was described as a "milestone". The vaccine had a nearly 95% efficacy rate with no serious side effects.[141][142] On November 20, 2020, Pfizer applied for Emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for the vaccine.[143] On December 2, 2020, the United Kingdom granted emergency use authorization to Pfizer–BioNTech's vaccine, becoming the first country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine that had been tested in a "large clinical trial" of "43,000 people".[144][145] On December 4, 2020, Bahrain became the second country to approve emergency use of the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for high-risk groups and later announced that the vaccine would be provided free to the public.[146][147] On December 8, 2020, Britain began initial distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine.[148] On December 9, 2020, British regulators told hospitals not to give the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to people prone to "serious" allergic reactions, after two National Health Service staffers had symptoms of "anaphylactoid reaction".[149] Also on December 9, 2020, Canada became the third country to approve the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, initially purchasing 20M doses and preserving the option to purchase up to 56M additional doses. An initial delivery of 249,000 doses was planned for December with up to 4M more doses planned for delivery by March 2021.[150][151] On December 10, 2020, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held an advisory committee meeting to discuss authorization of the vaccine.[152] An independent panel voted 17-4 in support of the FDA approving the vaccine.[152] On the same day, Saudi Arabia approved the vaccine, becoming the 4th country to do so.[147] The next day, December 11, 2020, the United States officially became the 5th country to approve use of BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine.[153] The FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and under the United States agreement with Pfizer, Pfizer agreed to an initial distribution of 2.9 million doses on an immediate basis and 100 million doses through March 2021, with the United States providing the vaccine free to the public.[154] On December 14, 2020, Singapore became one of the first in Asia to approve the vaccine through the Health Sciences Authority.[155] On December 21, 2020, the European Union European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended granting a conditional marketing authorisation for the vaccine "Comirnaty" developed by BioNTech and Pfizer.[156] On December 27, 2020, the European Union launched a coordinated measure to rollout the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which was distributed to all the 27 member states.[157] In February 2021, after a year long investigation relying on unnamed officials, Pfizer was accused by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) of employing "high-level bullying" against at least two Latin American countries during negotiations to acquire COVID-19 vaccines, including requesting that the countries put sovereign assets as collateral for payments.[158] According to TBIJ, these negotiation tactics resulted in a months long delay in Pfizer reaching a vaccine agreement with one country and a complete failure to reach agreements with two other countries, including Argentina and Brazil.[158]

In September 2020, the company acquired a 9.9% stake in CStone Pharmaceuticals for $200 million (HK$1.55 billion), helping to commercialise its anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody, CS1001.[159]

In October 2020, the company acquired Arixa Pharmaceuticals.[160]

In November 2020, using a Reverse Morris Trust structure, Pfizer merged its off-patent branded and generic drug business, known as Upjohn, with Mylan to form Viatris, owned 57% by Pfizer shareholders.[161][162][163]

On January 5, 2021, Pfizer introduced a new logo.[164]

In April 2021, Pfizer acquired Amplyx Pharmaceuticals and its anti-fungal compound Fosmanogepix (APX001).[165][166][167]

Pfizer has been accused of aggressive pharmaceutical marketing.[168][169][170]

In 1993, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved gabapentin only for treatment of seizures. Warner–Lambert, which merged with Pfizer in 2000, used continuing medical education and medical research, sponsored articles about the drug for the medical literature, and alleged suppression of unfavorable study results, to promote gabapentin. Within five years, the drug was being widely used for off-label uses such as treatment of pain and psychiatric conditions. Warner–Lambert admitted to violating FDA regulations by promoting the drug for pain, psychiatric conditions, migraine, and other unapproved uses.[171] In 2004, the company paid $430 million in one of the largest settlements to resolve criminal and civil health care liability charges. It was the first off-label promotion case successfully brought under the False Claims Act.[172] A Cochrane review concluded that gabapentin is ineffective in migraine prophylaxis.[173] The American Academy of Neurology rates it as having unproven efficacy, while the Canadian Headache Society and the European Federation of Neurological Societies rate its use as being supported by moderate and low-quality evidence.[174]

In September 2009, Pfizer pleaded guilty to the illegal marketing of arthritis drug valdecoxib (Bextra) and agreed to a $2.3 billion settlement, the largest health care fraud settlement at that time. Pfizer promoted the sale of the drug for several uses and dosages that the Food and Drug Administration specifically declined to approve due to safety concerns. The drug was pulled from the market in 2005.[175][176] It was Pfizer's fourth such settlement in a decade.[177][178][179] The payment included $1.3 billion in criminal penalties for felony violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and $1.0 billion to settle allegations it had illegally promoted the drugs for uses that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) leading to violations under the False Claims Act as reimbursements were requested from Federal and State programs. The criminal fine was the largest ever assessed in the United States to date.[176][177][178][179] Pfizer entered a corporate integrity agreement with the Office of Inspector General that required it to make substantial structural reforms within the company, and publish to its website its post approval commitments and a searchable database of all payments to physicians made by the company.[180]

Peter Rost was vice president in charge of the endocrinology division at Pharmacia before its acquisition by Pfizer. During that time he raised concerns internally about kickbacks and off-label marketing of Genotropin, Pharmacia's human growth hormone drug. Pfizer reported the Pharmacia marketing practices to the FDA and Department of Justice; Rost was unaware of this and filed an FCA lawsuit against Pfizer. Pfizer kept him employed, but isolated him until the FCA suit was unsealed in 2005. The Justice Department declined to intervene, and Pfizer fired him, and he filed a wrongful termination suit against Pfizer. Pfizer won a summary dismissal of the case, with the court ruling that the evidence showed Pfizer had decided to fire Rost prior to learning of his whistleblower activities.[181][182]

A "whistleblower suit" was filed in 2005 against Wyeth, which was acquired by Pfizer in 2009, alleging that the company illegally marketed sirolimus (Rapamune) for off-label uses, targeted specific doctors and medical facilities to increase sales of Rapamune, tried to get transplant patients to change from their transplant drugs to Rapamune, and specifically targeted African-Americans. According to the whistleblowers, Wyeth also provided doctors and hospitals that prescribed the drug with kickbacks such as grants, donations, and other money.[183] In 2013, the company pleaded guilty to criminal mis-branding violations under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. By August 2014, it had paid $491 million in civil and criminal penalties related to Rapamune.[184]

In June 2010, health insurance network Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) filed a lawsuit against Pfizer for allegedly illegally marketing drugs Bextra, Geodon and Lyrica. BCBS alleged that Pfizer used kickbacks and wrongly persuaded doctors to prescribe the drugs.[185][186] According to the lawsuit, Pfizer handed out 'misleading' materials on off-label uses, sent over 5,000 doctors on trips to the Caribbean or around the United States, and paid them $2,000 honoraria in return for listening to lectures about Bextra.[187][188] Despite Pfizer's claims that "the company's intent was pure" in fostering a legal exchange of information among doctors, an internal marketing plan revealed that Pfizer intended to train physicians "to serve as public relations spokespeople."[189] The case was settled in 2014 for $325 million.[190] Fearing that Pfizer is "too big to fail" and that prosecuting the company would result in disruptions to Medicare and Medicaid, federal prosecutors instead charged a subsidiary of a subsidiary of a subsidiary of Pfizer, which is "nothing more than a shell company whose only function is to plead guilty."[189]

According to Harper's Magazine publisher John R. MacArthur, Pfizer withdrew "between $400,000 and a million dollars" worth of ads from Harper's Magazine following an unflattering article on depression medication.[191]

The Quigley Company, which sold asbestos-containing insulation products until the early 1970s, was acquired by Pfizer in 1968. In June 2013, asbestos victims and Pfizer negotiated a settlement that required Pfizer to pay a total of $964 million: $430 million to 80% of existing plaintiffs and place an additional $535 million into a settlement trust that will compensate future plaintiffs as well as the remaining 20% of plaintiffs with claims against Pfizer and Quigley. Of that $535 million, $405 million is in a 40-year note from Pfizer, while $100 million is from insurance policies.[192]

Pfizer purchased Shiley in 1979, at the onset of its Convexo-Concave valve ordeal, involving the Bjork–Shiley valve. Approximately 500 people died when defective heart valves fractured and, in 1994, Pfizer agreed to pay $10.75 million to settle claims by the United States Department of Justice that the company lied to get approval for the valves.[193]

A federal lawsuit was filed by a scientist claiming she got an infection by a genetically modified lentivirus while working for Pfizer, resulting in intermittent paralysis.[194] A judge dismissed the case citing a lack of evidence that the illness was caused by the virus but the jury ruled that by firing the employee, Pfizer violated laws protecting freedom of speech and whistleblowers and awarded her $1.37 million.[195]

Brigham Young University (BYU) said a professor of chemistry, Dr. Daniel L. Simmons, discovered an enzyme in the 1990s that led towards development of Celebrex. BYU was originally seeking a 15% royalty on sales, equating to $9.7 billion. A research agreement had been made between BYU and Monsanto, whose pharmaceutical business was later acquired by Pfizer, to develop a better aspirin. The enzyme Dr. Simmons claims to have discovered would induce pain and inflammation while causing gastrointestinal problems and Celebrex is used to reduce those issues. A six-year battle ensued because BYU claimed that Pfizer did not give Dr. Simmons credit or compensation, while Pfizer claimed that it had met all obligations regarding the Monsanto agreement. In May 2012, Pfizer settled the allegations, agreeing to pay $450 million.[196]

In 1996, an outbreak of measles, cholera, and bacterial meningitis occurred in Nigeria. Pfizer representatives and personnel from a contract research organization (CRO) traveled to Kano to set up a clinical trial and administer an experimental antibiotic, trovafloxacin, to approximately 200 children.[197] Local Kano officials reported that more than fifty children died in the experiment, while many others developed mental and physical deformities.[198] The nature and frequency of both fatalities and other adverse outcomes were similar to those historically found among pediatric patients treated for meningitis in sub-Saharan Africa.[199] In 2001, families of the children, as well as the governments of Kano and Nigeria, filed lawsuits regarding the treatment.[200] According to Democracy Now!, "[r]esearchers did not obtain signed consent forms, and medical personnel said Pfizer did not tell parents their children were getting the experimental drug."[201] The lawsuits also accused 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. Nigerian medical personnel as well as at least one Pfizer physician said the trial was conducted without regulatory approval.[202][203]

In 2007, Pfizer published a Statement of Defense letter.[204] The letter stated that the drug's oral form was safer and easier to administer, that Trovan had been used safely in more than five thousand Americans prior to the Nigerian trial, that mortality in the patients treated by Pfizer was lower than that observed historically in African meningitis epidemics, and that no unusual side effects, unrelated to meningitis, were observed after four weeks.

In June 2010, the US Supreme Court rejected Pfizer's appeal against a ruling allowing lawsuits by the Nigerian families to proceed.[205]

In December 2010, a United States diplomatic cables leak was released by WikiLeaks indicating that Pfizer hired investigators to find evidence of corruption against Nigerian attorney general Aondoakaa to persuade him to drop legal action.[206] The Washington Post reporter Joe Stephens, who helped break the story in 2000, called these actions "dangerously close to blackmail".[201] In response, the company released a press statement describing the allegations as "preposterous" and saying that it acted in good faith.[207] Aondoakka, who had allegedly demanded bribes from Pfizer in return for a settlement of the case,[208] was declared unfit for office and had his U.S. visa revoked in association with corruption charges in 2010.[209][210]

Since 2000, the company has implemented more than 4,000 greenhouse gas reduction projects.[211]

In 2012, the company was named to the Carbon Disclosure Project's Carbon Leadership Index in recognition of its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.[212]

Pfizer has inherited Wyeth's liabilities in the American Cyanamid site in Bridgewater Township, New Jersey, a highly toxic EPA Superfund site. Pfizer has since attempted to remediate this land in order to clean and develop it for future profits and potential public uses.[213] The Sierra Club and the Edison Wetlands Association have opposed the cleanup plan, arguing that the area is subject to flooding, which could cause pollutants to leach. The EPA considers the plan the most reasonable from considerations of safety and cost-effectiveness, arguing that an alternative plan involving trucking contaminated soil off site could expose cleanup workers. The EPA's position is backed by the environmental watchdog group CRISIS.[214]

In June 2002, a chemical explosion at the Groton plant injured 7 people and caused the evacuation of more than 100 homes in the surrounding area.[215]

Pfizer is a member of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, a Washington D.C.-based coalition of more than 400 major companies and NGOs that advocates for a larger International Affairs budget, which funds American diplomatic, humanitarian, and development efforts abroad.[216]

In the first nine months of 2009, Pfizer spent over $16.3 million lobbying members of the United States Congress, making it the 6th largest lobbying interest in the US (following Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which ranked 4th but also represents Pfizer interests). A spokeswoman for Pfizer said the company "wanted to make sure our voice is heard in this conversation" in regards to the company's expenditure of $25 million in 2010 to lobby health care reform.[217]

According to United States Department of State cables released by WikiLeaks, Pfizer "lobbied against New Zealand getting a free trade agreement with the United States because it objected to New Zealand's restrictive drug buying rules and tried to get rid of New Zealand's former health minister", Helen Clark, in 1990.[218]

Scott Gottlieb, who resigned as FDA commissioner in April 2019, joined the Pfizer board of directors three months later, in July 2019.[219]


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