Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Pfizer Anxiety

Well the big Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) press release came and went. We all knew they were going to make a big splash. They had to. The communiqué was structured with five priority points. The first three were predictable and most people probably understood them. Reading on my skepticism started to kick in.

“Priority Four: Actively and more meaningfully engage with customers, patients, physicians and other collaborators to provide them with greater value”. The press release went on to say that they would seek out new approaches to bring products to market.

As best I can tell the FDA and drug regulators in other countries have not changed how they operate. The whole area of pharmaceutical marketing remains controversial and some would say ethically challenged. Also an awful lot of your sales force is becoming unemployed and have lost the employment lottery. Those who keep their jobs may have lost motivation.

Investors clearly need to know how priority four is to be implemented. Right know we only know what they will not be doing.

“Priority Five: Make Pfizer a great place to work.” This is just a motherhood filler which does not have any integrity. You are axing committees and flattening the organizational structure. That will make the place more efficient. Sounds like a run on comment to priority point three, which is to create smaller, more focused and entrepreneurial business units.

Pfizer is still taking tentative steps and is not truly as confident as it seems. A focused three-point plan would have more convincingly indicated strategic clarity of purpose. Perhaps the most critical line in the press release was “Long Term Outlook -- 2009-10 Resumption of Revenue Growth Given Contribution of New and In-Line Products and Dissipation of Loss of Exclusivity Impact” Its still a little ways out before the good times have permission to roll. The market is going to need some more good news