The Pfizer Drama That Wasn't

Trading in Pfizer was halted last week because of pending news. While we see that all the time in smaller biotechs -- MannKind will likely be halted next week during an FDA advisory committee meeting -- it's rare for larger pharmas such as Pfizer or Merck

Mar 21, 2014 at 3:38PM

Trading in Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) was stopped last week for pending news. That's not something you see every day.

Small biotechs, on the other hand, often get halted for big news. MannKind (NASDAQ:MNKD) will likely be halted for most of April 1 as the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee discusses the company's inhaled insulin Afrezza and makes a recommendation about whether it should be approved. Every little thing the panel members say could change the potential for approval and therefore the value of the company. While some day traders might love the idea, it's in everyone's best interest to wait until the final vote to open up trading.

But you rarely see large pharmaceutical companies get halted. Big news is released before the markets open or after they close, and news that breaks at midday tends to be minor enough, especially compared to the company's size, that it won't affect the stock price. Only something big -- like Merck (NYSE:MRK) pulling Vioxx from the market -- would seem worthy of halting trading.

So why was Pfizer halted? The company lost federal court decision in a lawsuit against generic-drug makers over its drug Celebrex, after claiming that its patent was invalid. While Celebrex is a major product for Pfizer, the news hardly moved the stock, attesting to the Big Pharma's large breadth. In the video below, Fool contributor Brian Orelli and health-care bureau chief Max Macaluso discuss the event and what they think of Pfizer in general.

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Brian OrelliMax Macaluso, and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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