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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Pfizer is slashing its sales force by 20 percent or 2,200 people. The move is an attempt by the company to deal with sluggish sales. Meanwhile today the FDA will consider the case of Pfizer’s pain reliever Celebrex. The company wants to get approval to use it to treat kids with rheumatoid arthritis. This would expand the market for the drug. It’s also a key part of a bigger game plan for Pfizer. We get more from Steve Tripoli.
STEVE TRIPOLI: New documents out yesterday hint that Pfizer may have a rough time getting this approval. They indicate Celebrex may not be as effective as an older drug in treating kids with rheumatoid arthritis.
Analyst Les Funtleyder at Miller Tabak says Pfizer has lost billions in profits lately as lucrative drug patents expire.
Whatever happens with Celebrex, Funtleyder says Pfizer will try to convince analysts there’s money in getting more uses out of existing drugs.
LES FUNTLEYDER: What they’d like to do is extend their existing franchise to help soften the blow. What I believe that they want analysts to think is that Pfizer is in the process of turning itself around.
Analysts agree that the profit potential of new uses for Celebrex isn’t great. But if Pfizer can do that with several drugs, shareholders could see healthier earnings.
I’m Steve Tripoli for Marketplace.
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