Pfizer Inc

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on global corporations.

Pfizer Inc is the world's largest pharmaceuticals corporation. Brand names Viagra, Celebrex, Norvasc, and Lipitor. The company also manufactures animal care products such as Revolution, an anti-parasitic. In 2009, Pfizer acquired its rival Wyeth for 68 billion dollars.[1] Wyeth's over the counter brands included Advil, Centrum, Robitussin and ChapStick.[2] The majority of its sales are conducted through the whole sale companies McKesson and Cardinal Health. [3] See also complete listing of the company's prescription drugs. [4]

In 2010, Pfizer had a total revenue of $67.81 billion[5] Its CEO, Ian Read, had an annual compensation of $17.4 million the same year.

Connection to the American Legislative Exchange Council

Michael Hubert, Vice President for "Leadership Communications," is Pfizer's representative on ALEC's corporate board, as of 2011. Furthermore, Pfizer was a "Vice Chairman" level sponsor of 2011 ALEC Annual Conference,[6][7]

A list of ALEC corporations can be found here.

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's, and check out breaking news on our site.

Overview & history (subsection)

See also History of Pfizer.


Pfizer spent $10,740,000 on lobbying in 2010. $2,120,000 of this amount went to 17 outside firms with the remainder being spent using in-house lobbyists. [8]

According to Holly Bailey of Open Secrets:

"Over the last two years, Pfizer has been waging a legal battle to extend its patent on the epilepsy drug, Neurontin, and in its merger with Pharmacia, the company will gain access to dozens of new drugs whose patents expire in coming years. Even before its announced merger, Pfizer was among the most aggressive in the industry when it comes to fending off legislation that would seemingly make patent laws more lax, claiming that such legislation would curb the industry’s research and development into drugs that could cure rare diseases.[9]

To make that argument, Pfizer has retained some of the Washington’s best known lobbyists, including former Reps. Bill Paxon (R-N.Y.) and Norman Lent (R-N.Y.) and former Sen. Dennis DeConcini (R-Ariz.). The company also retains Scott Hatch, son of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who authored the drug patent law that remains in effect today. Since 1997, Pfizer has reported nearly $20 million in lobbying expenditures, according to the Secretary of the Senate. (Pharmacia spent $13.4 million during the same period.)" [10]

Political contributions

Open Secrets reports that in 2010, Pfizer gave $1,581,836 to candidates. $826,045 was given to federal Democratic candidates and $738,791 on federal Republican candidates.

Hank McKinnell, then Chair & CEO of Pfizer, was a Bush Ranger having raised at least $200,000 for Bush in the 2004 presidential election. [11]

Pfizer gave $2,865,575 dollars to federal candidates in the 2008 election cycle through its political action committee (PAC) - 50% to Democrats and 50% to Republicans. [12]

Pfizer was among several companies giving record political contributions four years after a law was passed attempting to reduce the impact of corporate money in U.S. politics. According to Bloomberg:

"The companies are working around the law, which banned unlimited contributions to parties, by giving more money through their political action committees than ever before in the first year of an election cycle, and writing checks to loosely regulated independent groups, financial disclosures show." [13]

Pfizer and health care reform

In January of 2006, Pfizer, through its public affairs agency Spectrum Science, hoped to, "open dialogue about, and ultimately reform, the nation's health care system." Spectrum started organizing the "Ceasefire on Health Care" town meetings for Pfizer in June 2005. The idea, originated from former U.S. Senator John Breaux. According to Spectrum's director of public affairs, Claire Barnard:

"The thrust of the campaign ... is to make incremental changes. I think the public is really yearning for this. I think people are tired of turning on the TV and seeing all the name calling."

The "Ceasefire on Health Care" town meetings are funded by Pfizer and American University. They have featured Senator Hillary Clinton and former Congressman Newt Gingrich. C-Span has covered the events, which have been held at the Brookings Institution, Heritage Foundation and National Press Club. [14]

Corporate Accountability

Shareholders may attend and vote in annual meetings and add items to the agenda. They may also nominate candidates for board member elections. There are no exceptions to the one share, one vote principle. Pfizer has initiated a series of reforms to improve shareholder control, including annual elections for all directors.[15]

Stakeholder engagement

Pfizer has two stakeholder specific engagement policies: Pfizer’s Global Policy on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals and Pfizer Principles for Working in Partnership with Patient Advocacy Groups. Both identify key principles that should underpin engagement with health care professionals and Patient advocacy groups, respectively.

Both make a commitment to being open about how shareholders affect decisions, but they do not identify when shareholders may participate in company decisions. Furthermore, there is no assurance that Pfizer will change policy as a result of stakeholder wishes (or even provide explanations). The two policies are overseen by a number of senior executives. The Global Policy on Interaction with Healthcare Professionals is overseen by multiple senior executives. It covers global marketing, research and development; and global business conduct. The Vice President of Global Alliance Development and the Senior VP of Philanthropy and Stakeholder Advocacy, oversee Pfizer’s Principles of Working in Partnerships with Patient Advocacy Groups. Each policy is disseminated through multiple mediums and translated into at least 20 languages. Pfizer does not provide training for staff on stakeholder engagement issues. Also, Pfizer has not institutionalized external stakeholder engagement in corporate decision-making. The company created a Worldwide Public Affairs and Policy department dedicated to philanthropy and shareholder advocacy, which solicits feedback from stakeholders. However, shareholders do not participate directly in any committee or group.

Human rights

Pfizers Corporate Equality Index Rating from Human Rights Watch for 2006 was 100.[16]

Social responsibility initiatives

In 2001, Pfizer announced that it will provide an unlimited free supply of Diflucan, a drug that combats fungal infections associated with AIDS, to 50 of the world’s poorest countries. Previously, Pfizer had conducted a successful pilot program in South Africa. The patent on Diflucan expired in 2004. [17]

Public relations


In the wake of a CEO change in 2006, Pfizer changed the name of its corporate affairs practice to public affairs, in order to "better reflect the increasing importance of influencing public policy and opinion to the company's success." The change was described as, "a larger reorganization of Pfizer's management structure," that included Jeff Kindler's promotion from head of corporate affairs to CEO:

"Rich Bagger will head Pfizer's new worldwide public affairs and policy division, which previously had been called the corporate affairs division." In that role, Bagger will oversee "public policy development, government relations, communications, media, philanthropy, and stakeholder advocacy." [18]

According to a memo from the new CEO to employees, the changes would help Pfizer make decisions more quickly, an important goal, as "patients and their families are using newly available information to take more control over their health care decisions." [19]

Americans for Medical Progress

Pfizer personnel sit on the board of AMP. See also Americans for Medical Progress.

Drug controversies

Lipitor ads

In September 2008, Pfizer resumed advertising for its cholesterol drug Lipitor. In February 2008, the drugmaker pulled its Lipitor ads, over charges they were misleading. The old ads featured artificial heart inventor Robert Jarvik, who appeared to be giving medical advice though he isn't a practicing physician. The new ads feature "John E.," a baby boomer and heart-attack survivor who "didn't take a cholesterol-fighting drug before his heart attack ... despite a history of high cholesterol." A Pfizer marketing executive said, "When we did testing with consumers ... John really resonated with them." Pfizer is eager to maximize sales before its patent on Lipitor ends in 2011. [20]


In November 2004 Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, part of the WPP Group; took over accounts for Pfizer's Celebrex and Bextra pain medications. In December of 2004, a report linked high doses of Celebrex (a member of the class of drugs referred to as Cox-2 inhibitors) to increased risk of heart attacks.[21] The co-managing director of the WPP Group's health and medical practice, Sherry Pudloski, told O'Dwyer's PR Daily that they still held the account, but would not elaborate on what they did for the company. [22]

Off-label promotional practices (Neurontin)

Access to pharmaceutical industry documents in 2006 revealed marketing strategies used to promote Neurontin for off-label use. [23] In 1993, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved gabapentin (Neurontin®, Pfizer) only for treatment of seizures. Warner-Lambert, which merged with Pfizer in 2000, used activities not usually associated with sales promotion. This included continuing medical education and research, sponsored articles about the drug for medical literature and alleged suppression of unfavorable study results, to promote gabapentin. Within 5 years, the drug was being widely used for the off-label treatment of pain and psychiatric conditions. In 2004, Warner-Lambert admitted to violating FDA regulations by promoting the drug for pain, psychiatric conditions, migraines and other unapproved uses. The company paid $430 million to resolve criminal and civil health care liability charges.[24], [25]

Diflucan (fluconazole)

Pfizer has been involved in controversies over the medicine Diflucan (generic name fluconazole). In 1998, a campaign by Thai public health groups led to the elimination of the Pfizer monopoly on selling fluconazole in Thailand. Subsequently, the price decreased from 200 baht to 6.5 baht in nine months. Faced with pressure for compulsory licenses to the Pfizer patent on this drug, the company later established a program for limited access to the medicine in Africa. [26]

Antivirals (Viracept & Maraviroc)

Drugs used to treat HIV and AIDS are various classes of toxic chemotherapies known as "antivirals" or "antiretrovirals". AIDS drugs manufactured by Pfizer include Viracept (protease inhibitor), Maraviroc and Maraviroc Rescriptor (entry inhibitors).[27] See also AIDS industry.

According to company information, in the U.S., 46% of all new HIV/AIDS cases occur in the South. From 2003 to 2006, the Pfizer Foundation funded 23 innovative HIV/AIDS prevention programs and strengthened the capacity of community-based organizations to reach and serve their communities.[28] Since 2003, the company has committed a $3 million dollar grant supporting a southern HIV/AIDS prevention (by way of Pfizer pharmaceuticals). However, according to he European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG), collection of activists from 31 European countries:

"The design of the trial for Pfizer's CCR5 inhibitor Maraviroc (previously known as UK-427,857) is putting people with HIV infection at unnecessary risk of developing AIDS."[29]

On June 20, 2007 Maraviroc was received a letter of approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory board. The letter was a product of expedited review of the novel HIV compound.


The Bitter Truth about Premarin. - United Animal Nations

Premarin & PMU ranches

Premarin was approved by the USDA in 1942 for manufacture by Wyeth (now Pfizer). Premarin, a drug derived from pregnant mares’ urine (PMU), is prescribed for "symptoms of menopause". The urine is collected from mares confined in barns on over 70 "PMU ranches" in the United States and Canada. Despite the availability of humane and safer alternatives, Premarin is among the most widely prescribed and profitable drugs in America. The industry is "self-regulated through manufacturer Pfizer’s Code of Practice". Mares in Premarin production commonly suffer from abrasions, leg swelling, excessive boredom, stress, and early death. Strapped to urine collection bags six months out of the year; they are tied to stalls too narrow to turn around or lie down in and are denied free access to water. There is no minimum code of practice for exercise or even that they be exercised at all. [30]

Studies of Premarin health risks

Premarin has been classified as a "dangerous drug" and the number one most likely to cause disability or other serious outcome. [31] Premarin increases risks of uterine cancer, heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer and blood clots. [32], [33]

See also Premarin.

Global drug issues


In May 2006, the Washington Post published a Nigerian government report that had remained unreleased for five years. In this report, a panel of Nigerian medical experts found that Pfizer violated international law, stemming from the company's alleged testing of an unapproved, oral form of Trovafloxacin, on children with meningitis in Nigeria.

According to Pfizer, they conducted the trial with full knowledge of the Nigerian government.[34] These allegations have been the subject of litigation in both America and Nigeria. On June 5, 2007 the Nigerian government filed a civil lawsuit for $7 billion in damages against Pfizer, in relation to the experimental meningitis treatment given to children. [35]. Two hundred children received Trovan in Kano, Nigeria, in 1996, according to Pfizer. The Nigerian and Kano state governments alleged that the antibiotic was administered without parental consent and that it disabled or killed some children. [36]

In July 2007, the Nigerian government filed criminal charges against Pfizer over the trials. [37] In turn, Pfizer hired investigators to unearth embarrassing information about Nigeria's attorney general Michael Aondoakaa, in hopes that the charges would be dropped.[38]


In March of 2006, Pfizer sued the Philippine government and government health officials, to prevent Philippine drug regulators from allowing the importation of less expensive versions of a Pfizer heart disease drug. [39]


In 2001, Pfizer requested the U.S. government pressure the Brazilian government against issuing compulsory licenses for the patents on the AIDS drug nelfinavir.


In 1998, the Thai government acquiesced to requests by public health groups and eliminated Pfizer’s monopoly on fluconazole, a leading AIDS drug, reducing the price of the drug from 200 baht to 6.5 baht within a year. [40]

Clinical trials

Toxic drug trials on foster children

See also Foster child drug trials.

Animal testing

Pfizer does animal testing.

Facility information, progress reports & USDA-APHIS reports

For links to copies of a facility's U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Animal Plant Health Inspection (APHIS) reports, other information and links, see also Stop Animal Experimentation NOW!: Facility Reports and Information. This site contains listings for all 50 states, links to biomedical research facilities in that state and PDF copies of government documents where facilities must report their animal usage. (Search: Pfizer, Inc., New York, New York; Wyeth, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Wyeth Vaccines, Marietta, PA; Fort Dodge Laboratories, Fort Dodge, Iowa.)

This facility performed animal experiments involving pain or distress but no analgesics, anesthetics or pain relievers were administered. For links to copies of this facility's USDA-APHIS reports, other information and links, see also Facility Reports & Information: Fort Dodge Animal Health, Monmouth Junction, New Jersey.[41]

This facility performed animal experiments involving pain or distress but no analgesics, anesthetics or pain relievers were administered. For copies of this facility's USDA-APHIS reports, other information and links, see also Facility Reports & Information, Pfizer, Inc., White Hall, IL. [42]

USDA AWA reports

As of May 26, 2009, the USDA began posting all inspection reports for animal breeders, dealers, exhibitors, handlers, research facilities and animal carriers by state. See also USDA Animal Welfare Inspection Reports.

Contract testing

Pfizer contract tests out to Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). [43] Hungtindon Life Sciences is the 3rd largest contract research organization (CRO) in the world and the largest animal testing facility in all of Europe. Firms hire HLS to conduct animal toxicity tests for agrochemicals, petrochemicals, household products, pharmaceutical drugs and toxins.HLS has a long history of gross animal welfare violations. See also Huntingdon Life Sciences.

Pfizer also contract tests out to SNBL, [44] an international contract research organization (CRO). SNBL has a history of gross animal welfare violations. See also SNBL.


  • Ian Read - CEO - $17.4 million in 2010
  • Olivier Brandicourt - President & General Mgr, Primary Care
  • Frank D'Amelio - Executive VP, CFO - $6.5 million in 2010
  • Mikael Dolsten - President, Global R&D
  • Geno Germano - President & General Mgr, Specialty Care & Oncology
  • Chuck Hill - Executive VP, Global Human Resources
  • Doug Lankler - Executive VP, Chief Compliance Officer
  • Freda C. Lewis-Hall - Executive VP, Chief Medical Officer
  • Kristin Peck - Executive VP, Global Business Development
  • Cavan Redmond - Group President, Animal Health, Consumer Healthcare, Capsugel & Corporate Strategy
  • Amy Schulman - Executive VP, General Counsel & Business Unit Lead Nutritionals
  • David Simmons - President & General Mgr, Emerging Markets and Established Products
  • Sally Susman - Executive VP, Policy, External Affairs & Communications[45]

Former executives

Key executives & pay

  • Ian C. Read (57) - Chairman & CEO - $3.30 M
  • Frank A. D'Amello (53) - CFO & Senior VP, Bussiness Operations - $3.08 M
  • Freda C. Lewis-Hall (55) - Chief Medical Officer & Sr. VP of Executive Compliance Committee


Board members

  • Dennis A. Ausiello
  • Michael S. Brown
  • M. Anthony Burns
  • Robert N. Burt
  • W. Don Cornwell
  • Frances D. Fergusson
  • William H. Gray III
  • Constance J. Horner
  • Suzanne Nora Johnson
  • James M. Kilts
  • George A. Lorch
  • John P. Mascotte
  • Ian C. Read
  • Stephen Sanger
  • William C. Steere, Jr.[47]


235 E. 42nd St.
New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212-573-2323
Fax: 212-573-7851

Web address:

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles


  1. Company Description: Pfizer Inc, Hoovers, accessed December 2009
  2. Wyeth, Hoovers, accessed January 2009
  3. Company Description: Pfizer Inc, Hoovers, accessed December 2009
  4. Products, Pfizer, accessed December 2009
  5. Pfizer Annual Financials,"Bloomberg BusinessWeek"
  6. [American Legislative Exchange Council, 2011 Conference Sponsors, conference brochure on file with CMD, August 11, 2011]
  7. ALEC Private Enterprise Board, American Legislative Exchange Council. Accessed Aug. 11, 2011.
  8. Pfizer Inc lobbying expenses, Open Secrets, accessed January 2011
  9. Holly Bailey, Prescription Drugs: A Look at Contributions from Pfizer & Pharmacia, Open Secrets, July 18, 2002
  10. Holly Bailey, Prescription Drugs: A Look at Contributions from Pfizer & Pharmacia, Open Secrets, July 18, 2002
  11. Pioneers and Rangers, Texans for Public Justice, accessed August 2007.
  12. 2008 PAC Summary Data, Open Secrets, accessed March 2010
  13. Jonathan D. Salant, "GM, Comcast, Pfizer Boost Political Giving, Skirt Federal Ban", Bloomberg, February, 21, 2006.
  14. PR Week, January 2006
  15. 2006 GAR Corporate Accountability Profile: Pfizer, One World Trust, 2006 (Search Pfizer)
  16. Corporate Equality Index, Human Rights Campaign, 2006
  17. Barbara Crossette AIDS Fungus Drug Offered to Poor Nations, New York Times, June 2001
  18. PR Week, August 2006
  19. PR Week, August 2006
  20. Jon Kamp, "Pfizer Drops Celebrity Pitch in New Lipitor Spots: As Generics Catch Up, Dr. Jarvik Is Jettisoned From Heart-Drug Ads," Wall Street Journal (sub req'd), September 2, 2008.
  21. FDA urges alternatives to Celebrex,"" 12/18/2004
  22. O'Dwyer's PR Daily, 2004
  23. Michael A. Steinman, MD; Lisa A. Bero, PhD; Mary-Margaret Chren, MD & C. Seth Landefeld, MD Narrative Review: The Promotion of Gabapentin: An Analysis of Internal Industry Documents, Annals of Internal Medicine, Volume 145, Issue 4, pg. 284-293, 2006
  24. Jane E. Henney, MD Safeguarding Patient Welfare: Who's In Charge?, Annals of Internal Medicine, vol 145, no. 3, pp. 305-307, 2006
  25. Warner-Lambert to pay $430 million to resolve criminal and civil health care liability charges, U.S. Department of Justice press release, accessed August 2006
  26. Emelia Sithole S. Africa okays Pfizer AIDS drug distribution, Reuters, February 21, 2001
  27. (Search brand names) Products, Pfizer, accessed December 2009
  28. Doing Business Responsibly, Pfizer, accessed December 2009
  29. AidsMeds,, 2005
  30. Premarin, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, accessed January 2011
  31. Premarin, Injury Board, Sept 2007
  32. Prescription Drugs: Premarin, PDR Health, accessed August 2009
  33. Premarin,, January 2006
  34. Pfizer faulted over drug trials in Nigeria,, 2006
  35. Chris McGreal Nigeria sues Pfizer for $7bn over 'illegal' tests on children, The Guardian, June 2007
  36. Nigeria suing Pfizer over study of drug: Officials seek $7b, say some children disabled or killed, Bloomberg News, June 5, 2007
  37. Camillus Eboh The Nigerian federal government has filed criminal charges against U.S. drugmaker Pfizer alleging improper behavior in a 1996 drug trial in the northern state of Kano in which it says 11 children died., ABUJA (Reuters), 2007
  38. WikiLeaks cables: Pfizer used dirty tricks to avoid clinical trial payout, The Guardian, 9 December 2010
  39. Forbes, March 2008
  40. Donald G. McNeil, Jr. Medicine Merchants: Patents and Patients; As Devastating Epidemics Increase, Nations Take On Drug Companies, New York Times, July 9, 2000
  41. Facility Reports and Information: Fort Dodge Animal Health, Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!, accessed October 2009
  42. Facility Reports and Information: Pfizer, Inc., White Hall, IL, SAEN, accessed January 2010
  43. Inside Customers,, accessed January 2011
  44. Chris Halsne Monkey Boiled Alive At Research Lab, KIRO 7 Eyewitness News, February 2008
  45. Pfizer Executive Leadership Team, accessed January 2011
  46. Pfizer Profile: Key Executives, Yahoo Finance, accessed January 2011
  47. About Pfizer: Board Members, Pfizer, accessed January 2011

External articles