Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer spent much of 2012 still reeling from the aftermath of losing exclusivity of the cholesterol-lowering medication Lipitor in November 2011. In his annual letter to shareholders, Chairman and CEO Ian Read attributed the record operational loss of $7.4 billion to the patent expirations of popular drugs like Lipitor. By the end of the fourth quarter, the company reported a $1.8 billion (or 33%) loss in primary care revenues due to patent expirations. The blow was somewhat softened by the success of drugs like Lyrica, Celebrex and Viagra, bringing the primary care unit revenues to only a slightly better 28% decrease in the fourth quarter compared to the same time in 2011. But it hasn't been all bad news for Pfizer. The company continued to re-structure its business strategy with the sale of its nutrition unit to Nestle and the recent IPO of the company's stand-alone animal health business, Zoetis.
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