Drugs: The Little Company That Got Well

It sells lipstick and dog shampoo, perfume and dishes, crop sprays and baby products — more than 2,500 items in all, retailed in 100 countries. Sears Roe buck? Montgomery Ward? The Army's PX system? Not at all. The purveyor of this wide assortment of products is an ethical drug house,* Manhattan-based Charles Pfizer & Co., and the unusual mix of its products is the chief reason that Pfizer (pronounced fyzer) is one of the fastest-growing drug houses in the U.S. Pfizer's diversification has raised its sales tenfold since 1949—to $470 million—and changed it from a small and specialized...

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