Credit rating agency Fitch says it is downgrading several credit ratings for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. ahead of the loss of patent protection for its best-selling drug, Lipitor.
Fitch downgraded Pfizer's long-term issue default rating to `A+' from `AA-' in anticipation of revenue pressures as the company continues to pay off its 2009 acquisition of Wyeth. The credit rating service has paid down $7.6 billion in debt in the past two years, leaving $41.7 billion remaining.
Fitch acknowledges the company "has shown some financial discipline by reducing the debt load." But as Lipitor loses patent protection in November "Fitch is most concerned with Pfizer's ability to further moderate costs during the height of its patent cliff." Lipitor was the best-selling drug in the world last year at $10.7 billion.