Pfizer's Unlucky 13-Year Milestone


September 1996. I was in the middle of my nearly 10-year stint at WXYZ-TV in Detroit. And shares of Dow component Pfizer closed at $12.90.

February 2009. This year will mark my ninth anniversary (man, time flies) at CNBC. And today PFE hit a new intra-day low of $12.90.

I don't see any news. But "The New York Times"today did a story on the latest Wall Street parlor game — trying to figure out the next big pharma-big pharma mega-merger in the wake of the PFE-Wyeth deal. The article mentions how Pfizer's stock had lost about a quarter of its value since it announced the acquisition and how that might cause other big drug companies to think twice before pulling the trigger.

As I blogged yesterday, Pfizer has given up on three drugs in late-stage development in as many weeks. That always expensive, risky business is one of the driving forces behind the Wyeth deal. The post prompted a couple of readers to write in with their thoughts on the situation.

JoAnne Patterson emailed, "I've been in the industry for 30 years and I have been saying for a loooooooong (her emphasis) time that the only way any of these big pharma companies are going to survive in the 21st century is to completely change their marketing practices and cut most of the ridiculously wasteful marketing and sales expenses."

Coincidentally, a report came out today on that very issue.

And Thomas Lambach said, "As a long suffering PFE stockholder I conclude their Board is asleep or incompetent. The pipeline issue was known years ago yet the Board accepted the CEO's (Hank McKinnell's) sweet talk, for years, before bribing him to just go away. They should have fired him! That's why I say the Board is asleep. Now they want (again) to just buy their way out of PFE's problems—by acquiring WYE. Easy way out, especially if one's using OPM! After many years I'm thinking 'sell' PFE." McKinnell got a big golden parachute. OPM, BTW, stand for other people's money.

Mr. Lambach, apparently you're not alone.

Questions? Comments?