Pfizer is the largest American pharmaceutical company and one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. It competes with Merck and Glaxo, and markets such well-known medications as Celebrex and Viagra. However, the pharmaceutical industry as a whole has undergone changes in recent years with significant consolidation taking place and with increased scrutiny regarding the ways in which drugs are developed, tested and marketed. In addition, recent controversies have erupted regarding Merck's drug Vioxx, and Pfizer has been the target of unwanted publicity regarding its painkiller Celebrex. This research considers the strategic position of Pfizer, including its strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and threats that it faces, its strategic priorities and the acquisition strategy that it might follow.
Pfizer's primary strength is its size and expertise in the industry. Its reputation has suffered somewhat in recent months as controversy has surrounded the industry as a whole due to the Vioxx issue, and Pfizer has suffered because of its own problems with Celebrex. In general, however, the company's size gives it the ability to invest in new development that is necessary to succeed in the long-term.
Pfizer's primary weakness is its lack of drugs in its pipeline and its inability to have new drugs approved for use. The company does not have significant drugs coming through the development process, at least not that will be ready for the market in the next few years. This puts the company in a weak position as it struggles with drugs that are already facing competition from generic alternatives. The highly successful epilepsy drug Neurontin lost patent protection in 2004 and its sales fell by 80 percent in 2005, for example (Berenson, 2005).
The company's size, which is one of its strengths, is also one of its primary weaknesses. The company is so large that no one drug can lift it
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