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Our Journey

Our Timeline 1849 - Present

We've come a long way. Journey through Pfizer's history from the first storefront to the beaches at Normandy to the New York Stock Exchange.



In 1849, cousins Charles Pfizer and Charles Erhart founded Charles Pfizer & Company in a red brick building in Brooklyn, NY.

Pfizer scientists begin an intensive quest to find new organisms to fight disease.

Terramycin® (oxytetracycline), a broad-spectrum antibiotic that is the result of the Company's first discovery program, becomes the first pharmaceutical sold in the United States under the Pfizer label. Pfizer begins expansion into overseas markets and the International Division is created.

Terramycin also marks the beginning of the Pfizer Pharmaceutical Sales Force. Upon its approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration on March 15, 1950, eight specially trained Pfizer pharmaceutical salesmen waiting for word at pay phones across the nation move into action to get inventory to wholesalers and to educate physicians about Pfizer's first proprietary pharmaceutical product. These men are the vanguard of a sales and marketing organization that will come to be recognized as the best in the industry.

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.

The division opens its 700-acre farm and research facility in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Roerig remains an integral part of Pfizer's outstanding marketing division.

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

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 McKeen, whom he succeeds, remains chairman of the board, a position he holds until 1968, when Powers assumes full leadership of the company.