Pfizer's Hope for an Antismoking Pill.
According to the World Health Organization one billion people worldwide smoke and due to complications of smoking cigarettes, half of those regular smokers die. Research shows some 70 percent of America's 50 million smokers want to quit, but their rate of success is low. (Hensley) As a result, Pfizer Inc. presents an experimental pill to help people quit smoking. Pfizer's drug, Varenicline, satisfies nicotine cravings without being addictive and pleasurable. Varenicline screens the receptor from nicotine, in turn, causing the smoker to stray from cigarettes. .
In competition with Pfizer is Zyban. Zyban, whose active ingredient works as an antidepressant, may help maintain levels of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical involved in the brain's pleasure center but how it aids smokers is not exactly known. Another competitor to Pfizer is Sanofi-Synthelabo of France. Sanofi-Synthelabo is testing a drug called Rimonabant, which is expected to be released next year. This drug is based on a different compound affecting a different brain receptor. .
Along with the few other major drug-makers, Pfizer competes in an oligopolistic market. This is a result of a few large competitors, giving them more of a monopoly power. As a result of the great quantity of medicine demanded, drug-makers can charge high prices. Drug companies, such as Pfizer, justify the high prices by the cost of research and development that goes into introducing a new product. Pfizer knows that Americans want to quit smoking but have low success rates on their own; therefore, they are providing a product to meet the demand but the cost will be great to the consumer. .
Hensley, Scott. "Pfizer's Hopes: Antismoking Pill" The Wall Street Journal 17 June 2003: B1 , B11.