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December 19, 2004
Boarding Up the Windows
In almost every story about Pfizer's disastrous Friday, you'll find a sentence with this phrase in it: ". . .the company says it has no plans to recall Celebrex. . ." But this statement, taken literally, is surely untrue.
Pfizer definitely does not want to recall Celebrex. They've been in the Red Queen's Race of the pharmaceutical world for a few years now - they have to run as fast as they can to stay in the same place. To me, none of the estimates of how many billion-dollar launches they need have ever seemed attainable, and their method of just going out and buying the biggest drugs they could find has never made sense. Losing Celebrex would put an ugly dent in their strategic plan, even in the eyes of people who believe in it.
Neither do I have enough data to hand (nor, for this kind of decision, enough expertise) to say whether Celebrex even should be recalled. But whether it should or not, I'd say the odds are better than even that it will be. Such is the climate.
And you can be sure that Pfizer has thought about it, about what they'd have to do and how they would do it. You can be sure that someone over in Groton or New London has that job, and you can be equally sure that they didn't get home very much over the weekend. There's a lengthy PowerPoint presentation ready by now that no one wants to deliver. Don't take Pfizer's word for it - there are plans, because there have to be.
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