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October 23, 2005
The Tar Pit Beckons
Over at Pfizer, reality is finally flapping down on its big, black wings. It's been circling for a while. Looking at the stock chart, you can make a case that somewhere around 2000 was when they stopped beating the S&P index, and the middle of last year is when they stopped staying even with it. I've had a lot of things to say about Pfizer on this blog (and its predecessor) over the last few years, and most of them have been unkind. (Here are a couple of posts that will give you the idea).
The short version: (1) Pfizer's ever-increasing size means that most everything scales up except what they need the most: research productivity. (2) Billion-dollar drugs must roll off their conveyer belt, one after the other, and that's something that no one has ever figured out how to do. (3) Lipitor, mighty monster that it is, is the main thing keeping the music playing. But it will go away, and there is nothing to replace it. Perhaps nothing ever could. (4) While a massive sales force is quite a thing to have, they do need things to sell, don't they?
I've thought more than once, as I write things like this, that I must have killed off any chances I had to work over there. But I don't see Pfizer doing a lot of hiring for the next few years - do you? It's a sad situation, but perhaps it'll serve as an example for the rest of industry. Somehow, I don't think that all these acquisitions were made with the goal of being a poster boy. . .
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