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Pfizer SWOT & PESTLE Analysis

Last Updated : 22 Jun, 2017


Name of the Company: Pfizer

Business Sector: Pharma

Operating Geography: North America, USA, Global

About the Company: Pfizer is an American pharmaceutical giant headquartered in New York. It was founded in 1849 by Charles Pfizer and Charles F. Erhart. Pfizer is into research, development and production of drugs and vaccines, and has nine broad operating divisions.

Revenue: 48.9 Billion USD - FY 2015

SWOT & PESTLE Analysis

The SWOT analysis for Pfizer is presented below:
1. Strong brand name
2. Extensive portfolio with several bestselling drugs
3. Focus on R&D and innovation
4. Ranked high on corporate responsibility and sustainability indices
5. High profitability and huge cash reserves
1. Negative publicity due to tax scandals
2. Drug testing debacles
3. Tough competition from generic drug makers
4. Allegations of illegal marketing
5. Failed mergers and acquisitions
1. Increasing awareness of health related issues in developing countries
2. Potential partnerships with governments
3. Collaborative R&D with pharmaceutical companies in developing countries
4. Focus on sustainability
1. Unfavourable patent laws
2. Stringent regulatory environment
3. Threat of drug-resistant strains in the future
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1. Strong brand name: Pfizer has a history of 160+ years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and therefore, brand recall is considerably strong.

2. Extensive portfolio with several bestselling drugs: Pfizer has pioneered in the development as well as production of several best-selling, blockbuster drugs, such as Atorvastatin and Zoloft.

3. Focus on R&D and innovation: Pfizer’s R&D focus has led to the existence of the large and ever-increasing number of patents to its credit.

4. Ranked high on corporate responsibility and sustainability indices: Pfizer is committed to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and also has active corporate responsibility initiatives across the globe.

5. High profitability and huge cash reserves: Pfizer has historically been a huge profit maker with abundant cash reserves, and has grown inorganically as well as organically.


1. Negative publicity due to tax scandals: Pfizer had been involved in several scandals, the most recent being the issue of tax inversion to UK, which made the company cancel its ambitious plans to merge with an Irish drug company.

2. Drug testing debacles: Pfizer has had several cases of failed or scrapped drug tests, and FDA interventions due to breach of regulations.

3. Tough competition from generic drug makers: Pfizer currently faces huge issues due to the laws protecting generic drug manufacturers in developing economies to provide affordable healthcare to the poor.

4. Allegations of illegal marketing: Pfizer has been involved in several cases of illegal marketing of drugs for purposes other than the intended purposes.

5. Failed mergers and acquisitions: Pfizer has had enormous inorganic growth, but not all of the mergers and acquisitions in the past have been profitable for the company.


1. Increasing awareness of health related issues in developing countries: Due to the fact that people in developing or emerging economies are becoming aware of health and sanitation issues, Pfizer has a huge potential for marketing their products in these countries.

2. Potential partnerships with governments: Pfizer can seek to partner with governments in developing countries to boost health related awareness campaigns, thereby creating demand while also giving back to the society.

3. Collaborative R&D with pharmaceutical companies in developing countries: Pfizer can explore untapped markets by signing collaborative research agreements with pharmaceutical companies in developing countries, which are now centres of low-cost innovation.

4. Focus on sustainability: The global trend of focusing on long-term, sustainable business goals can be leveraged by Pfizer, which is already a pioneer in this direction.


1. Unfavourable patent laws: Governments in third world countries supporting local pharmaceutical companies in the development of cheap generic drugs, coupled with unfavourable patent laws can prove to be a major challenge to large pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer who recover their R&D costs by being the sole manufacturer of their patented drugs.

2. Stringent regulatory environment: Of late, FDA and other bodies have made the rules that apply to drug testing and allied fields extremely stringent due to hue and cry from human rights activists from across the globe, especially against testing of drugs on people from poorer countries.

3. Threat of drug-resistant strains in the future: There is always the risk of disease causing strains developing resistance against existing drugs, and this entails huge R&D costs for the development of new and better drugs to combat these mutant strains.

Pfizer SWOT analysis has been conducted by Neeraja R Venu and reviewed by senior analysts from Barakaat Consulting.


[1] Pfizer home page:

[2] NY Times – Pfizer – Allergan merger:

[3] Money Control:

[4] Reuters:

[5] FDA:

[6] BBC:

[7] Bloomberg:

[8] Corporate Integrity Agreement:

[9] Legal Information Institute:

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