Monday, September 7, 2009

Just How Much Money Does Pfizer Have?


The Department of Justice has settled with Pfizer Pharmaceutical for $2.3 Billion. This is actually the fourth settlement with Pfizer,or one of its subsidiaries, since 2002 over illegal marketing, but those fines only totaled a paltry $513 million. I guess it is a good thing that the U.S. Government will be taking in some big money, rather than just paying it out in stimulus money, bailing out banks and escalating a war in Afghanistan. Way to go Justice Department! You are earning your keep.

These settlements were the result of whistleblowers who claimed Pfizer sent doctors on all-expense paid trips to resorts, gave out free massages and paid kickbacks to get them to prescribe drugs for off label uses.

I am glad the U.S. coffers will get a bit of $. What I am wondering, however, is just how much money does Pfizer have? The settlement had little effect on Pfizer's stock, which closed just 10¢ lower. Carol Levenson, research director at a corporate-bonds research service said, "And while $2.3 billion ain't chicken feed, it's affordable". Affordable? That tells me Pfizer is loaded and these types of fines are just annoyances.

Just how big is a billion dollars? A billion dollars is more than many total economies in third world countries. A billion minutes is roughly 1,900 years and the Roman Empire was in full swing. A billion hours ago we were living in the stone age. If we wanted to pay down a billion dollars of the US debt, paying one dollar a second, it would take 31 years, 259 days, 1 hour, 46 minutes and 40 seconds.

I will be pondering this the next time I remember that Medicare Part D (drug coverage for Medicare recipients) was passed with the caveat that there would be no contracting for better prices from Big Pharma. The government (all of us) will just pay the asking price. I will think of this when my patient's blood pressure shoots up or her arthritis pain is worse because she can't afford to pay over $100 a month for a single medication.

Just how much money does Pfizer have?
(a rhetorical question...I can look it up too)

8 comments:

Raymond Bouchayer said...

They have enough to buy anything they want and anybody they want obviously.
And that is why they are doing so well. Our Politicians get donations for their campaign and the people have the exclusive right to shut up and pay .
A little like a good divorce , everything get split right down the middle , She/He, gets the Gold .She/He, gets the shaft.

CountryMidwife said...

Sick, and wrong. And people are against reform, don't get me started.

Healthnut said...

It is the insurance/patient who will be picking up the fine, not Pfizer.

murr said...

Well, their coffers are running dry or they wouldn't have bought Wyeth for their key vaccines and biologics. While the AP of 9/9/09 states "the $2.3 billion fine paid by Pfizer is "small, compared with the $44.2 billion in pharmaceutical sales (worldwide; $18.8 B US)the world's largest drugmaker rang up last year", is it really small? It represents 5.2% of gross sales. But, according to their annual report, net income was 8.1B so 2.3 B represents 28% of 2008 net income. Annual report shows adjusted net income at $16.4 B which makes the fine 14% of net income. No corporation wants to give up 14-28% of net sales. Can't make the shareholders happy. It's a big fine even for Pfizer. It's a lot of money, but it's one way of sharing the wealth in a capitalistic society. Actually, we can all share in the wealth - they paid out $8 B in dividends last year and stock is cheapest its ever been - around $14. Even as an owner, I know it's wrong to keep medicare from negotiating drug contracts and that needs to change! But remember,as owners we make a product - drugs. Ins companies, on the other hand, make no product, just middleman paperwork. Just how much money do they have? Sigh....

Anonymous said...

Acutally they didn't have enough money to buy Wyeth....they have huge loans out.....which you can invest in through corporate bonds and bond funds, so why doesn't the gov do that with our SS money?

Cockroach Catcher said...

i posted about
Pfizer, the money represented less than three weeks of sale!!!
The Cockroach Catcher

Anonymous said...

I think it is time we know how much it cost Pfizer to make a Xanax pill so we can see how much we are being charged. Also, how we find out how much they charge in Canada and Europe.

How can I find out how it cost Pfizer to make one Xanax pill?

We know they are in bed with the politicians and we are suckers paying the price. In truth, the drug companies run this nation. So how do I get this info?

Anonymous said...

Okay, where is the answer to the above question? How can you find this out?
There is a woman in my church whose head shakes constantly. I can't think of the disease's name, but she pays well over $1,000 for her monthly prescription. Her insurance pays. Now I would like to know how much it cost to make that drug---$15 at the most? The drug companies and now Walgreen's and insurance companies are dominating our culture. When I grew up, I didn't see a drug ad every 11 minutes on the TV. We are a country of disease. Doctors have even said that we would be a lot better without all these medicines. All the signs announcing the flu season. If we didn't hear that, we would be a lot better. Since when did cold weather cause disease? It didn't in frontier days.