Pfizer employee to new colleagues: Buckle up

Pharma giant Pfizer got bigger on Monday, purchasing Wyeth Pharamceuticals for $65 billion in one of the few big business moves to get funding lately. This comes after several years of aggressive cost-cutting and huge layoffs at Pfizer, and was announced as the company released an annual report revealing a $2.3 billion settlement for offl-label marketing.

At least one Pfizer employee feels that Wyeth employees should be warned.

I feel sorry for the good people of Wyeth. You didn't ask to be gobbled up by this monster. As for myself, I was just to lazy/stupid/complacent to leave. I got caught up remembering all the good times, and I forgot that they pretty much ended 10 years ago.

I imagine that many will have trouble summoning sympathy. Nevertheless, the change in culture at drug companies over the last 20 years or so, both in sales and research, makes an interesting study -- a move, as more than one person in the business has said

, from a focus on finding and disseminating novel solutions to problems to rebranding and aggressively marketing not-so-novel solutions.

Hat tip: Peter Rost, who's running for FDA commissioner.

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This is a big topic here (Kalamazoo-Portage, MI area) now, because essentially all that is left of Pfizer's former presence is a large manufacturing base, and closing some manufacturing sites is one way that has been mentioned as paying for the purchase. The large research group that had been here, left from Upjohn -UpJohn/Parmacia - Pharmacia - Pfizer, was
eliminated some years ago (final round about 2006, when my wife, a statistician, was among a large group given walking papers. We came out fine: she started with UpJohn in 1985, directly out of graduate school, and was far enough along that the severance was good. She was, however, more than glad to get out: the atmosphere at the company was awful.

The "watching your back" advice is a good one: I know several people who, in 2006, were given the opportunity to keep a job, although they would be moved to Ann Arbor. Several took that option: Ann Arbor's research facility was closed about 1 year later.

I still remember the T-shirt slogan that became popular in Kalamazoo when Pfizer began its engulf-and-devour mission there:


By Julie Stahlhut (not verified) on 28 Jan 2009 #permalink