Pfizer Inc on Monday said it plans to internally separate its commercial operations into three business segments, including two units that sell patent-protected branded drugs and one that sells generic medicines.
The largest U.S. drugmaker said the changes will go into effect in January in countries that do not require a consultation with labor unions.
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Pfizer earlier this year said it would begin separately examining the finances and marketing of its patent-protected drug business, which it calls its "innovative" business, and its generic operation, which it calls its "value" business, as a possible prelude to selling off the generic business in coming years.
One of the businesses will include drugs expected to have patent protection beyond 2015, and generally include the treatment areas of inflammation, immunology, cardiovascular and metabolic, neuroscience and pain, rare diseases and women's and men's health. It will be headed by Geno Germano, who will be president of the Innovative Products Group.
The other "innovative" business will include vaccines, cancer and consumer healthcare, Pfizer said in a release. It will be headed by Amy Schulman as president of Vaccines, Oncology and Consumer Healthcare.
Many industry analysts have been urging Pfizer to spin off its lower-profit generics business, as the company has spun off its nutritional products and animal health businesses in recent years, to focus more intently on its core, more lucrative branded pharmaceuticals business.
But Pfizer has said it will first need to closely analyze the operations of its patent-protected and generic drugs, as if they were distinct businesses, including audits of their financial operations, before deciding whether to split off the generic unit.
Pfizer's shares gained 21 cents to $29.58 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Maureen Bavdek)