Pfizer shares plummet along with demand for Covid drugs
US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer released a disappointing earnings report on Tuesday, with a weaker-than-estimated sales outlook for its Covid-19 drugs.
The drugmaker’s stock plunged 14% this month, erasing $40 billion in market value. Pfizer told investors to expect revenue to decline by a third in 2023, as the world emerges from the pandemic, and demand for coronavirus drugs slows.
The company’s combined sales from its Covid vaccine and antiviral treatment reportedly generated more revenue last year than Pfizer’s total sales in 2019. The Comirnaty vaccine and Paxlovid virus pill have contributed more than half of the company’s $100 billion in sales in 2022.
Last year “was a record-breaking year for Pfizer,” CEO Albert Bourla said in the earnings report, adding: “as proud as we are about what we have accomplished, our focus is always on what is next.”
The drugmaker has been signaling for months that it would not be able to keep up the pace, but the downturn in its Covid business was worse than analysts had been expecting.
For 2023, Pfizer said it expects sales of around $13.5 billion for Comirnaty, down 64% from the year before and below the $16 billion forecast by analysts. Paxlovid sales are expected to nosedive 58% to $8 billion in 2023 from $18.9 billion the previous year. Based on those estimates, the company expects total revenue of between $67 billion and $71 billion this year, down from $100.3 billion in 2022.
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