Pfizer Inc. (PFE)'s Ian Read Finds Reason to Keep Consumer Health Unit  
4/4/2013 7:58:45 AM

Pfizer Inc. (PFE) plans to keep its $3.2 billion-a-year consumer health business because the unit will be critical to selling prescription drugs that become over-the- counter products, Chief Executive Officer Ian Read said. The unit that makes ChapStick lip balm, Advil pain pills and Centrum vitamins will “absolutely” stay within New York- based Pfizer, Read told investors on a conference call arranged by Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. last week. Medicines shifting to nonprescription status will be a growing trend, he said. “It’s a business that has a great store of value for us,” Read said on the March 26 call. A recording of the call was posted online. Pfizer, the world’s biggest drugmaker, has been shrinking since Read took over in late 2010, cutting expenses and divesting its animal health and infant nutrition units. The CEO has talked about splitting the drug business in two, with one unit focusing on brand-name medicines and another on those that don’t have patent protection.