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Will Pfizer Troubles Change Drug Approvals?

We've been telling you about Pfizer's troubles today--that it stopped development of what was supposed to be its blockbuster drug--torcetrapib. Unfortunate deaths during clinical testing forced Pfizer to cancel the drug. It was supposed to be the successor to Lipitor. And as a result of the failure--a question is being raised--will the failed tests change the way pharmaceutical drugs are approved?

CNBC's pharmaceutical reporter Mike Huckman looks back at the story on "Closing Bell." He relayed what Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler has said on CNBC-TV--that the company is looking for ways to recover--and that could include purchases of other drug companies--but he wouldn't say who or when. Pfizer stock certainly suffered from the news--with some 290 million shares traded today.

As for the issue of drug approval itself--CNBC's John Harwood says that with Democrats taking control of the U.S. Congress in January--this could have an effect. But Harwood says some Democrats are saying the Pfizer troubles shows the approval system works. And he says Democrats might not want to seem to eager to upset the pharmaceutical makers--knowing they don't always get along.

Harwood does point out--big pharma has given more campaign money to the GOP by a large margin. But Harwood says some of the more pressing issues for Democrats are negotiating drug prices and having more generic drugs available to the public.