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Pfizer to expand presence in emerging markets
by Mark Todoruk January 19, 2010
Pfizer's president of emerging markets, Jean-Michel Halfon, said on Tuesday that the drugmaker is preparing to expand its presence in emerging markets through partnerships and acquisitions in countries such as China, Mexico, Turkey, Brazil, Russia, and India. Halfon noted that "we have a very broad portfolio because of our heritage of acquisitions, but to build partnerships in emerging markets in the future we will need a broader profile."
Halfon highlighted China as a drug market "ready for consolidation" and indicated that "there is an opportunity for Pfizer to play a catalyst role and be a potential partner for [Chinese] companies." Pfizer has established a business development group in Shanghai and plans to increase its sales force in China by 39 percent to 3200 employees in 2011. Pfizer also expects to establish operations in 252 cities in the country, up from 177 last year.
In addition, Halfon indicated that Prevnar (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine), Enbrel (etanercept ) as well as oncology and specialty drugs, would be growth drivers in emerging markets. He noted that Lipitor (atorvastatin), Sutent (sunitinib) and Lyrica (pregabalin) were already selling well in these markets. In the third quarter of 2009, Pfizer recorded sales of $1.6 billion in those markets, representing growth of 9 percent, but Halfon declined to predict sales for 2010.
Commenting on the drugmaker's strategy, Halfon noted that developing low-cost manufacturing would be important for profitability in emerging markets. He explained that Pfizer would "move step by step," and said he was "not talking about a quick win here, but a very important direction." The executive added that Pfizer will need more deals, such as the licensing agreement it entered into with Aurobindo last year, to build its portfolio.

Pfizer Seeks Partnerships With Chinese Drugmakers
By Shannon Pettypiece
Jan. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Pfizer Inc. is looking for partnerships and acquisitions with Chinese drugmakers and ramping up its Asian sales force as it tries to tap into rising incomes and illnesses in China.
Pfizer has set up a business development group in Shanghai and expects a wave of consolidation among Chinese-based drugmakers, said Jean-Michel Halfon, head of Pfizer's emerging markets business unit, at a meeting with reporters today at the company's New York headquarters.
"China is ready for consolidation," Halfon said in an interview. "There is an opportunity for Pfizer to play a catalyst role and be a potential partner for these companies."
Pfizer, the world's biggest drugmaker, plans to increase the number of employees selling medicines in China by 39 percent to 3,200 in 2011 and have operations in 252 cities, up from 177 last year. China was one of the fastest-growing pharmaceutical market in the world in 2008, increasing by 39 percent to $24.5 billion, according to IMS Health Inc. China is estimated to become the third-largest pharmaceutical market by 2011, up from ninth in 2003, according to IMS.
While Pfizer can't charge as much for medicines in China as it can in the U.S., Halfon said that China and other emerging markets can have "very good profitability."
"The idea that emerging markets aren't profitable is more a myth than reality," Halfon said.
Pfizer rose 51 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $20 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The company has gained 14 percent in the past 12 months.
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