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Barron's Cover Story: Pfizer Is the Dow’s Worst Stock. A New Strategy Makes It Worth Another Look

FYI: In the early 2000s, a share of Pfizer bought space on nearly every shelf of a drugstore.

The company sold prescription drugs, of course: your Zoloft, your Viagra, your Lipitor. But then there was Trident chewing gum, Listerine mouthwash, and Zantac heartburn pills; Rogaine for bald spots, Rolaids for indigestion, Lubriderm for dry skin, and Zyrtec to plug a runny nose; plus Halls and Dentyne Ice; Schick razors and dog medicine.

Over the past two decades, Pfizer (ticker: PFE) has been steadily shedding those businesses. Now, it is taking its most radical step yet: In two deals announced in the last 12 months, the company will be getting rid of its last consumer brands, including Advil and ChapStick, and spinning off a division that sells off-patent throwback hits like Viagra.

It will be Pfizer’s final break with a business model of many decades, as the company commits itself to living almost entirely off new drugs that it can build or buy.
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