In an interview with the publication, Chief Executive Jeff Kindler said the company would consider both large and small buyout opportunities. The company and many of its competitors have been facing or will face declining sales of key products they lose patent protection and generic drug developers market cheaper products. Pfizer loses patent protection on its blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor in 2011. Buyouts have been a key theme in the pharmaceutical industry during 2008. Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceuticals bought Millennium Pharmaceuticals for $8.8 billion, Eli Lilly & Co. bought ImClone Systems Inc. for $6.5 billion, and analysts expect Roche to eventually buy Genentech Inc., despite Genentech’s rejection of Roche’s previous $43.7 billion. Many of the sector’s largest operators have cash-rich balance sheets, allowing them some relative comfort as the economy remains weak and credit markets tight.