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Pfizer tops Q1 forecasts; vaccine sales slide as expected

AP – Pfizer topped Wall Street expectations yesterday even as sales of its top-selling COVID-19 vaccine crumbled in the first quarter.

Revenue from Pfizer’s Comirnaty vaccine fell 77 per cent to USD3 billion in the first three months of the year, compared with more than USD13 billion during the same stretch last year.

The drop was widely expected because the drugmaker is moving this year from supplying governments through big contracts to selling the vaccine on the commercial market. Pfizer expects sales from Comirnaty to drop 64 per cent this year and revenue from its market-leading COVID-19 treatment Paxlovid to slide 58 per cent due to this shift.

Sales of Paxlovid actually jumped past USD4 billion in the first quarter, largely due to the timing of a final delivery for Pfizer’s United States (US) government contract.

Pfizer expects commercial sales for both to kick in later this year, after leftover government inventory is absorbed.

A man walks by Pfizer’s headquarters in New York. PHOTO: AP

Both the vaccine and treatment have generated billions in revenue for Pfizer over the last several quarters. But the drugmaker also produces cancer treatments and other vaccines.

Revenue grew four per cent to USD1.6 billion in the first quarter from Pfizer’s Prevnar vaccines for preventing pneumonia and related bacterial diseases.

The drugmaker’s net income sank 30 per cent to USD5.54 billion in the first quarter, with adjusted results totalling USD1.23 per share.

Total revenue fell 29 per cent to USD18.3 billion.

Analysts expected earnings of 98 cents per share on USD16.61 billion in sales, according to FactSet.

Pfizer also reaffirmed its forecast for full-year earnings to range between USD3.25 and USD3.45 per share.

That forecast initially fell short of Wall Street expectations when Pfizer released it in January.

FactSet said analysts now expect earnings of USD3.39 per share.

Shares of New York-based Pfizer Inc shares started climbing in early-morning trading.

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