Although most families find that the onset of a recession is a hardship to be overcome, there is a silver lining to every cloud. One such example is the makers of various anti-depressant medications, for whom the prospect of impending national economic difficulty is like winning the lottery.
As consumers across the nation tighten their belts and cut back on all but the basic necessities, often the first things to go are the budgets for entertainment and eating out. While a lack of amusing distractions coupled with a job loss or pay cut may leave families feeling down and out, it has drug makers smiling ear to ear.
“In these trying times,” said Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler, “we are overjoyed to be in a position that allows us to reap massive profits by giving people the ability to chemically alter their mood.”
Although they are painful for many, recessions are seen by some economists as a natural and necessary progression that leads the economy to a stronger foundation down the road. Kindler agrees wholeheartedly with that assessment. “If we could have a recession every year, think how much stronger we would be,” he said. “And by ‘we,’ I mean those of us that stand to profit from these hard times.”
Sales of Pfizer’s market-leading anti-depressant Zoloft were up 200% in the first quarter, compared to last year. Although the company as a whole has been struggling recently, Kindler believes that a deep, prolonged recession may be just what the doctor ordered.
“Seriously,” said Kindler, “we are making some major bank here, and as the economy tanks, our prospects are looking better every day.”
Looking ahead to Pfizer’s 2008 fourth-quarter performance, Kindler said that if the US recession intensifies, their profit stands to increase substantially, possibly exceeding $2.50 per share. “That’s pretty much our best-case scenario,” Kindler said.