Money & The Economy

Pfizer CEO Steps Down As Generic Alternatives Shake The Massive Drug Company


by Evie Fordham

Pfizer Inc. CEO Ian Read will entrust his position to current COO Albert Bourla on Jan. 1, but Read will remain as executive chairman of Pfizer’s board of directors after a tenure during which the company’s stock increased roughly 160 percent.

“The company has come out of the abyss it was in, and is really poised for growth,” Read, 65, told The Wall Street Journal. “Given my age, it’s time for me to move on.”

Read became the giant drug company’s CEO in 2010. The “abyss” he refers to could be drug patent loss: Read’s leadership helped Pfizer continue to innovate as it lost revenue when the patents for its products like cholesterol medication Lipitor ran out, reported the WSJ.

Read’s replacement Bourla has been in charge of Pfizer’s “vaccines, oncology and consumer health care business,” reported the Chicago Sun-Times.

Bourla will have to deal with Pfizer’s popular nerve and muscle pain drug Lyrica’s going off patent in December. But Pfizer says it hopes to roll out 15 new products that are in development, including a staph infection vaccine and oral breast cancer therapy talazoparib, reported the WSJ.

New York City-based Pfizer is one of the globe’s largest drugmakers and employs more than 90,000 people, according to the WSJ. Its products sales declined 1 percent from 2016 to $52.5 billion internationally in 2017, reported the WSJ.

Under Read, Pfizer focused in on the drug and vaccine market and moved away from its animal-health business, reported the WSJ.

Pfizer was in the news in July when it agreed to postpone its prescription drug price hikes after President Donald Trump told the company it should be “ashamed” for its price increases in a July 9 tweet.

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