Business, Restructuring

Pfizer reshuffles, splitting into three business units

Just one day after President Donald Trump harangued Pfizer CEO Ian Read into delaying its drug pricing hikes, the pharma giant has announced it’s splitting up into three business units: innovative medicines, established medicines, and consumer healthcare.

John Young

Under the innovative meds group fall Pfizer’s biosimilars and the hospital business unit, which includes anti-infectives and sterile injectables. Established medicines will include the majority of Pfizer’s off-patent brands, like Viagra and Lyrica. Then there’s the consumer healthcare unit, which will include the company’s over-the-counter medicines. But that one may soon be on the chopping block.

Back in October, Pfizer said it was looking at strategic alternatives for the consumer healthcare unit, and they still are. They plan to make a decision on that unit’s fate sometime this year.

Ian Read, Pfizer CEO

Ian Read

“This new structure represents a natural evolution of these businesses given the ongoing strength of our in-market products and our late-stage pipeline and the expected significant reduction in the impact of patent protection losses post-2020 following the loss of exclusivity for Lyrica in the US which is expected to occur in or after December 2018,” Read said in a statement. “As we transition to a period post-2020 where we expect a higher and more sustained revenue growth profile we see this new structure better positioning each business to achieve its growth potential.”

Angela Hwang

John Young, the current group president of Pfizer’s innovative health unit, will lead the new innovative meds group alongside Angela Hwang, who used to manage the essential health group. Young has a special mandate over internal medicine, oncology (including biosimilars), and rare disease, while Hwang is tasked with the inflammation and immunology (including biosimilars), vaccines, and hospital meds business.

The changeup at Pfizer comes hours after Read rolled back his plans to hike prices on 100 drugs. Pfizer, you may recall, deeply embarrassed the president recently when the company hiked its prices on a range of products — after Trump had claimed that drug prices would soon be falling dramatically.

Pfizer is backing it up, saying that it will defer any price increases that went into effect at the beginning of the month until the end of this year or until the president’s drug pricing blueprint goes into effect – whichever is sooner. It plans to roll back prices as soon as it can — and any price cuts it instituted will remain in effect.

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Sr. Manager, Regulatory Affairs, CMC
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