Pfizer sets out major revamp

Pfizer said it would reorganise into three units, separating its consumer healthcare business that the US drugmaker has been trying to sell since last year.

The news comes a day after the company decided to defer drug price increases for no more than six months, following criticism from US President Donald Trump for raising list prices of some medicines.

The units would be Innovative Medicines, Established Medicines, and Consumer Healthcare. The company is currently split into two units — Innovative Medicines, which includes the consumer business, and Essential Health. In Ireland, Pfizer employs 3,300 staff. “This design gives us a sharper focus on diverse patients in diverse markets,” Albert Bourla, chief operating officer said. The Innovative Medicines business will now also include biosimilars and a new hospital business unit, and together with the Consumer Healthcare business, will account for about three-quarters of the company’s revenue.

Pfizer’s 2017 annual revenue was $52.55bn (€44.7bn). Pfizer said it would still evaluate options for its consumer healthcare business and expects to make a decision in 2018. The company said in October last year that it was considering the sale or spin-off of the consumer healthcare business, which is worth about $15bn. In May, Pfizer said that it had not received an acceptable offer. The business consists of products ranging from Advil to lip balms. The Established Medicines unit would include the majority of the company’s off-patent brands, including Viagra and neurological disease treatment Lyrica as well as some generic drugs.The changes would be effective at the start of fiscal 2019. Pfizer shares were down slightly in the US, valuing the drugs giant at $218.95bn (€186.5bn). Meanwhile, analysts in the US said Pfizer’s decision to delay planned drug price hikes after President Trump attacked the company on Twitter may cause another shakeout throughout the health-care industry.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and SunTrust expect other drugmakers will have to show more restraint on price increases, and say drug distributors may also find themselves under pressure.

Height Capital Markets earlier cautioned about the risk to pharmacy-benefit managers, saying that Pfizer’s move ups the ante for the White House to propose policy changes on the use of rebates.

Reuters, Bloomberg, Irish Examiner

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