Pfizer Company: A Presentation of Strategic Context
Pfizer is the number two largest biomedical and pharmaceutical research and development company in the world, boasting in excess of fifty Billion dollars per year in gross revenues. While the recession has hit many companies, the biotechnology and pharmaceuticals sector has remained not only relatively insulated, but in addition to that the forecasting models for growth predict a profitable future.
Pfizer has had its share of growing pains, a cause for reduction in gross revenues comes primarily from a growth strategy to acquire another large biopharmaceutical company, yet net retained earnings have continued to increase at a rate of six percent annual average each year over the last three years. After Pfizer’s acquisitions of Wyeth they saw a substantial increase in operating profit margins due to increased efficiencies between the two companies. Pfizer has recently acquired a biopharmaceutical company named Wyeth.
By purchasing Wyeth which specializes in vaccines, Pfizer has broadened their customer base by expanding their product line. This business practice aligns with Pfizer’s current pro-growth Strategy. It is clear, in most part; Pfizer’s business Strategy aligns with the wild wild west model of Industry Ecosystems. Pfizer if a relatively fast growing company, in an industry that thrives on making fast and furious technological discoveries, and they have a very high rate of customer retention due to patent protection.
Pfizer has many competing technologies in the market place for such diseases as cardiac health, mental health, and infectious disease treatments. Their drug Lipitor is by far the highest grossing drug the company currently has on the market. Cardiac disease is the most common and fatal disease that Americans face. Lipitor functions by lowering low density lipids (or fats) in the blood stream thus promoting cardiac and circulatory efficiency and health.
Pfizer’s patent on Lipitor is set to expire in November of this year which would potentially result in reducing their total revenues for that drug significantly because other companies could then introduce a generic substitute. The net effect of Lipitor’s patent expiration on Pfizer’s bottom line could be a reduction as large as ten percent of total gross revenues.
Pfizer would be expected to retain approximately twenty percent of users which equals four percent of Pfizer’s total Gross Revenues. Some customers ill continue to use Lipitor, for example: those patients whose insurance does cover name brand medicines or patience of physicians that reject writing prescriptions for generic substitutes. This problem is a perfect example of one of Porters Key strategy principals that Pfizer follows, analyzing and protecting a threat of substitute products. How Pfizer addresses the problem is how they exercise his strategy. The current estimated retail cost of Lipitor is around one hundred and seventy dollars per month depending on the prescribed dosage.
After November of this year it is very possible that we could see a generic substitute on the Wal-Mart four dollar list. Part of Pfizer’s Business strategy has been to launch legal battles for patent protections and extensions longer than the November 2011 date, which would result in a prolonged period of increased earnings and profits. To continue with an analysis of strategy, Pfizer uses both a combination of the resource based view in conjunction with the industry investment prospective. An example of this would be Pfizer’s acquisition of Wyeth which catered to a much broader and diverse section of the drug market.
The resource prospective would say that Pfizer already has massive research and development capabilities, drug production and manufacturing systems, and well established distribution channels for its already long list of products, making Wyeth a fit for the company’s growth and expansion strategies. What is different from the resource based view and supports the industry investment strategy is that Wyeth is a leading researcher, developer, and provider of vaccines, which is a very lucrative industry in and of its self.
The numbers of users for vaccines are much larger than for a specialized product such as Lipitor, yet vaccines still have patent protections that help drug companies keep prices high. These two companies merged together have much greater and sustainable competitive advantages than either one by itself. One of the resources that will help to fend off threats to their product lines is their pooling of resources for their in house legal team. As new products emerge from the research and development scientists, their joint capacity to protect their drug assets and keep products in the hands of the end users will inevitably eep other drug companies from capitalizing on the opportunities to produce generics.
Some of the more rare and inimitable products are the ability to produce huge financial gains for Pfizer if they pass through all the stages of FDA screening protocol. Some areas Pfizer is currently investing research and development dollars are, DNA specific drugs, new small molecule compounds, Stem Cell therapies, Amino Acid therapies. DNA specific drugs have huge potential for Pfizer because many side effects can be prevented, allergies can be detected, and a shorter time line for approval to the FDA can result from better drugs.
New small molecule compounds are useful because they tend to have fewer side effects which equal fewer liabilities and risk for the producer, and can be easier to develop and manufacture. Stem cell research also opens up a great deal of opportunity for drugs that work well on the cellular and molecular level, but can even be toxic or fatal in the human body. The method of drug delivery is many times the largest hurdle in getting an effective drug to the reaction site to produce the desired effect.
Finally, and quite possibly most interestingly there are over three hundred and twenty know amino acids. Our human bodies produce or utilize only twenty four of them. Many of the reaction mechanisms on the molecular level can be imitated or recreated by unnatural amino acids meaning that we may see a huge increase in effective drugs with decreased side effects by utilizing these products. In conclusion Pfizer has acquired a great addition to its company with Wyeth as part of its pro-growth business strategy.
It is clear that they have used a combination of both resourced based and industry based strategy. By tapping into a broad mass market via a new product by a new company Pfizer will have a clear competitive advantage over companies like Merk and Novartis. Pfizer is definitely leveraging their human resource assets to prevent substitute products from entering the markets. I believe that by exercising these strategies Pfizer can prevent slipping into the creative destruction life stage of a company.