Healthcare Business

Pfizer Blows It Horn To Doubting Thomases

Pfizer (PFE) met with analysts yesterday and said it was on the road to introducing some blockbuster drugs. Wall St. should hope so. With a sales force reduction of 2,000, generics snapping at its heels, Wal-Mart offering $4 prescriptions, and a Democratic Congress that wants to knock down healthcare costs, Pfizer need some big wins.

Pfizer says that its has six drugs in the pipeline to come out before 2011. But, the company has spent $7 billion on research each year and does not have much to show except a lot of drugs that are losing their patent protection.

Pfizer’s biggest upcoming drug is torcetrapib, a drug to boost HDL, or good cholesterol. The company says that it is confident that the drug will do well, but in some trials it raises blood pressure in patients. So, it fixes on thing and damages another.

Pfizer will have to do better than that. Over that last five years, the S&P is up about 20% and Pfizer is off 35%. That would give most investors high blood pressure without torcetrapib.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.