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Pfizer Inc: Exploring Our History


In a major international expansion, Pfizer operations are established in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, England, Mexico, Panama, and Puerto Rico. John "Jack" Powers, Jr., then assistant to Pfizer President John McKeen, directs his international teams to “study the economy, establish proper contacts with government officials, learn the language, history, and customs, and hire local employees wherever possible." While other companies keep their international employees on a short leash, Pfizer gives its international people tremendous autonomy, enabling them to make critical decisions immediately, rather than waiting weeks, or even months, for the home office to respond. This formula proves to be remarkably successful in the years ahead.


Pfizer establishes an Agricultural Division dedicated to offering cutting-edge solutions to animal health problems. The division opens its 700-acre farm and research facility in Terre Haute, Indiana.


After it's acquisition, J.B. Roerig and Company, specialists in nutritional supplements, becomes a division of Pfizer. Roerig remains an integral part of Pfizer's outstanding marketing division.


A fermentation plant opens in England, laying the foundation for Pfizer's research and development operations in Great Britain.

Pfizer partners with Japan's Taito to manufacture and distribute antibiotics. Pfizer acquires full ownership of Taito in 1983.


New Pfizer pharmaceutical plants begin production in Mexico, Italy, and Turkey. International personnel increases from 4,300 in 1957 to over 7,000.


The Company signals its increasing commitment to research by consolidating its medical research laboratory operations in Groton, Connecticut.


Pfizer begins a decade of substantial growth and establishes new World Headquarters in midtown Manhattan.


John J. Powers, Jr. (right),is named president and CEO. John McKeen, whom he succeeds, remains chairman of the board, a position he holds until 1968, when Powers assumes full leadership of the company.


Vibramycin®(doxycycline hyclate), the company's first once-a-day broad-spectrum antibiotic is introduced and quickly becomes a top seller.


Pfizer acquires Mack Illertissen, a prosperous manufacturer of pharmaceutical, chemical, and consumer products oriented to the needs of the German marketplace.

The Central Research Division is established, combining pharmaceutical, agricultural, and chemical R&D worldwide. It eventually grows to include research centers on three continents. In an era of unprecedented advances in medical discovery, Pfizer makes a long-term investment in research that will pay off years later.


Pfizer crosses the billion-dollar sales threshold. John Powers, Jr. (center), steps down; Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. (right), becomes CEO; and Gerald D. Laubauch (left) becomes President. Recognizing that the key to Pfizer's future growth lies in its ability to discover and develop innovative pharmaceuticals, Chairman Ed Pratt increases the company's Research and Development budget from about 5 percent to 15 to 20 percent of sales. He also leads the ongoing battle for intellectual property protection worldwide to encourage and safeguard innovation. As a result of his pioneering efforts, Pratt is named as chairman of the President´s Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations during both the Carter and Reagan administrations.

Pfizer establishes a microbiology laboratory for soil screening in Nagano, Japan. The site is expanded in 1985 into a major discovery laboratory complex where researchers are part of worldwide teams seeking novel ways to circumvent the inflammation process in diseases like arthritis and asthma, and new non-addictive analgesics to manage pain.


As America celebrates its 200th birthday, Pfizer celebrates over 125 years of explosive growth.

Pfizer introduces Minipress® (prazosin HCI) in the United States, for the control of high blood pressure.


Feldene® (piroxicam) becomes one of the largest-selling prescription anti-inflammatory medications in the world and, ultimately, Pfizer's first product to reach a total of a billion United States dollars in sales.


Glucotrol® (glipizide), for diabetes, is launched.


Pfizer introduces Unasyn® (ampicillin sulbactam), an injectable antibiotic.


The Agricultural Division is renamed the Animal Health Division. During the next few years, the division introduces several breakthrough products, including Dectomax® (doramectin).


Pfizer launches Procardia® XL (nifedipine) extended-release tablets, an innovative once-a-day medication for angina and hypertension.


William C. Steere, Jr., is appointed President. A year later, he is also namedChief Executive Officer.

Diflucan® (fluconazole), a powerful antifungal, is launched in the United States and 15 additional countries. Originally approved for systemic fungal infections, in 1994 it receives a new indication in the U.S. for vaginal candidiasis. The single-dose Diflucan® tablet is a welcome alternative to the existing treatments that requires topical applications of cream for a week or more.


William C. Steere, Jr. becomes Chairman of the Board. His goal is to refocus the Company on its core competencies.

Pfizer has a triple rollout of major new medicines: Zoloft® (sertraline hydrochloride) for treatment of depression, Norvasc® (amlodipine besylate) for control of angina and hypertension, and Zithromax® (azithromycin) for respiratory and skin infections.


Pfizer´s Sharing the Care, the industry´s premier drug-donation program, is launched. Sharing the Care provides medicines to more than one million eligible low-income and uninsured patients throughout the United States.


The Animal Health Division purchases SmithKline Beecham's animal health business, making Pfizer a world leader in the development and production of pharmaceuticals for livestock and companion animals.

Pfizer increases its presence in the Far East by building a pharmaceutical plant in Dalian, China and expanding throughout growing markets in the Pacific Rim.

Cardura® (doxazosin mesylate) is introduced in the United States for the treatment of benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH).


Fortune® magazine names Pfizer the world's most admired pharmaceutical company. Pfizer continues its reign as most admired in 1998.


Pfizer's roster of outstanding drugs grows with the launch of Viagra® (sildenafil citrate), a breakthrough treatment for erectile dysfunction.

Pfizer invests more than $3.3 billion in research and development.

Pfizer and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation partner to establish the International Trachoma Initiative (ITI) to help eliminate blinding trachoma. Learn more about Trachoma and the International Trachoma Initiative.


Pfizer celebrates its 150th anniversary as one of the world's premier pharmaceutical companies. Recognized for its success in discovering and developing innovative drugs for human discovery, Forbes® magazine names Pfizer "Company of the Year."

Pfizer takes the drug discovery process to a new level of efficiency with the opening of the Discovery Technology Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Utilizing the emerging knowledge of gene families, the Center's mission is to evolve new, more efficient models for discovering drug candidates. These candidates have an increased potential to survive the rigors of drug development.

Pfizer investment in research and development exceeds $4 billion for the first time. Learn more about Pfizer's commitment to research.