Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, said it would cut manufacturing sites in Brooklyn and in Omaha and would seek to sell a third site in Germany. It would close three research sites in Michigan and said it hopes to close one in Japan and another France.
Pharmaceutical industry analysts have generally been welcoming cutbacks by Pfizer but have said that while cost-cutting is beneficial, the company needs to resume growth by bringing new products to market. Still, Pfizer’s shares were trading down about 1 percent this afternoon.
Pfizer has been suffering from the loss of patent protection on key drugs like the antidepressant Zoloft and the antibiotic Zithromax. Sales of both drugs plummeted more than 70 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006, the company reported today.
At the same time its laboratories have had difficulty coming up with new hits. The company suffered a huge blow in December when safety concerns prompted it to halt development of torcetrapib, a cardiovascular drug that it considered the most promising experimental drug in its pipeline.
The number one drug company in the world today, with billions and billions of dollars cannot come up with new useful drugs. With all of the advances in biological science over the past few decades you would think it would be easier.
The truth about drug science is that scientists all work in cubicles, attend meetings and write reports. They do not go into the lab. After obtaining their PhDs they go out and do what they do best; they talk. They are trained to write grant proposals. They are trained to defend popular notions that they most likely did not think of themselves. They learn to take a certain tone of voice that makes people think they know what they're talking about.