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Has Pharma Lost its Heart?


Pfizer’s announcement that it was planning to discontinue its cardiovascular (CV) research and development program about a month ago sent signals throughout the life sciences industry that the rule of CV pharmaceuticals may be coming to an end.


Pfizer is the maker of the all-time largest blockbuster drug, Lipitor, which is used to lower cholesterol.  And although the drug has been a veritable cash cow, analysts expect its revenue generation to dwindle as it faces competition from generics.

That being said, Pfizer has chosen to pursue what it sees as more promising avenues of research focus such as neurology and oncology.

Major competitor, Merck, made a Saturday announcement “reaffirming” its commitment to CV development.  This release offered no real news to speak of, but comes at a time of pronounced uncertainty in the life sciences industry, where entire research programs are being scrapped.

Merck has definitively confirmed that they do not plan to follow suit in respect to Pfizer’s CV restructuring, as VP of Cardiovascular Clinical Research at Merck, Dick Pasternak, stated (pointing out the obvious), “… CV is still the number one killer.”

So, does Pfizer’s decision to bail out now indicate an isolated event, or will other companies (other than Merck) decide to leave their CV prospects undeveloped?


November 10, 2008 - Posted by | Pharma | , , , , ,

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