St. Louis Public Radio News
4:16 pm
Mon December 6, 2010

Read takes over a Pfizer facing many difficulties

NEW YORK – Pfizer Inc. may be the world's biggest drugmaker, but new CEO Ian Read is taking charge at a trying time for the company, and he will have to deal with a declining share price, repeated failures of potential new products and expirations of patents on key drugs.

Pfizer employs about 500 people in research facilities around St. Louis, according to the St. Louis Business Journal.

Read replaces Jeffrey Kindler, Pfizer's CEO since 2006. While Kindler's exit came as a surprise, analysts said the choice of 30-year-Pfizer veteran Read indicates big changes are not immediately in store.

But are those changes needed? Pfizer is less than a year away from losing exclusivity on the cholesterol drug Lipitor, which brings Pfizer almost $13 billion in annual sales. Pfizer has had trouble developing drugs to replace that revenue, with at least six failing in late-stage clinical testing since early 2009.