It's a 'red herring', says Pfizer chief Ian Read after claims of drugs delays

Business Editor

Pfizer boss Ian Read hit back at claims from his opposite number at AstraZeneca last night, labelling as a "red herring" the threat of delays to breakthrough treatments if the drugs giant swallows the British firm in a record £63bn deal.

"In this integration, I frankly see no risk of delays for any important products for Pfizer or AstraZeneca. I'm afraid I think that's a real red herring," Mr Read told The Independent.

Hours earlier, giving evidence before the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot cited hold-ups in drug-development projects as a key reason for resisting Pfizer's approaches.

Mr Read, who will today argue his case before the Science and Technology Committee before touring City shareholders, added: "We would do the integration in a way that the scientists of both AstraZeneca and Pfizer would say 'these are projects that need to be kept on time, need to be ringfenced, need resources', and I have no doubt we would not slow up any of this development."

The Scot admitted he had been stung by criticism of his company, which invented the Viagra pill in Britain, for having a ruthless reputation for slashing jobs and research spending.

"I'm not sure what awful reputation you are talking about. I have 80,000 employees who will tell you we have a great reputation. I am personally extremely proud of Pfizer. If you go into most parts of the world, Pfizer has a great reputation, so frankly, I am a little bemused by this awful reputation", he said.

There have been calls from the President of the Royal Society, professor Sir Paul Nurse, for Pfizer to extend beyond five years its pledge to keep at least 20 per cent of the combined companies' research and development workforce in Britain. But Mr Read is resistant to making bigger promises, arguing that drugs companies need to be measured on shorter-term performance.

"I would say part of the problem for pharmaceuticals, and the reason the pharmaceuticals industry has had a lack of productivity, is too long a period without being measured. I am saying I need to measure what is happening in five years. I need to see if there are signs of productivity, I need to see an ownership culture.

"If you are running your business and you told a salesman 'I am going to give you 10 years to perform', he is going to start working in the ninth year. So what you need to do to manage a business is you need to say, 'look, I am going to assess your performance on five-year intervals, your right to capital depends on how well I see you doing in a five-year period'.

"I fully expect us to be in the UK for a lot longer than that but from the point of view of how I manage the business – and all our research areas wherever we are – we review them on a five-year cycle."

Earlier, Pfizer claimed its rival faced a $14bn plunge in revenues, as drugs fall out of patent, if it remained independent. AstraZeneca said this was an "opportunistic attempt to acquire a transformed AstraZeneca, without reflecting the value of its exciting pipeline".

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Data Analyst/Planning and Performance – Surrey – Up to £35k

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker