Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant, revealed a significant quarterly loss for the third quarter, largely attributed to charges associated with the struggles of its Covid antiviral treatment, Paxlovid, and its Covid vaccine. This announcement comes on the heels of Pfizer’s recent move to reduce its full-year adjusted earnings and revenue forecasts. In tandem with these reductions, the company also initiated a massive $3.5 billion cost-cutting plan.
The drugmaker stated that it incurred a $5.6 billion charge due to inventory write-offs in the third quarter, a result of diminished use of its Covid products. Breaking down these figures, $4.7 billion is linked to Paxlovid and $900 million to the company’s Covid vaccine. Pfizer’s shifting financial landscape also prompted the company to reiterate its full-year adjusted earnings and revenue guidance, which was notably lowered from its original projections. This downward revision is a response to the dwindling demand for Pfizer’s Covid-related products.
Pfizer’s challenges mirror the struggles faced by other pharmaceutical companies, such as Moderna, as they grapple with the rapid decline of their Covid businesses. With the Covid market maturing, these businesses are now transitioning to a commercial market in the U.S. For the third quarter, Pfizer disclosed a loss per share of 17 cents, contrary to Wall Street’s expectation of 34 cents. Moreover, its revenue stood at $13.23 billion, a 42% decline from the same quarter last year, largely because of diminishing sales of its Covid products.
On a more granular level, Pfizer’s Covid vaccine sales plummeted by 70%, generating $1.31 billion, while Paxlovid reported a revenue drop of 97%, amounting to $202 million. Collectively, these products accounted for roughly $1.5 billion in quarterly revenue, a stark contrast to the approximate $12 billion in sales during the same quarter the previous year. When comparing quarterly figures, Pfizer registered a net loss of $2.38 billion this quarter, whereas it boasted a net income of $8.61 billion during the same quarter in the prior year.
However, it’s not all gloomy for Pfizer. Excluding its Covid products, the company’s quarterly revenue surged by 10%. This growth was partially powered by its new vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus, Abrysvo, which garnered $375 million in sales. Newly acquired drugs also positively impacted Pfizer’s revenue stream. The migraine medication, Nurtec ODT, and the sickle cell disease treatment, Oxbryta, reported sales of $233 million and $85 million, respectively.
In addition to these drugs, Pfizer’s Vyndaqel, which addresses a specific cardiomyopathy type, witnessed a 48% sales increase from the third quarter of 2022, amounting to $892 million. Furthermore, vaccines protecting against pneumococcal pneumonia contributed significantly, pulling in $1.85 billion in sales, marking a 15% increase from the year-ago period.
In the midst of these financial revelations, Pfizer is keen on shifting investor attention from its Covid woes to its promising growth avenues, which include potential mergers, acquisitions, and a robust pipeline of products. The company has been proactive with product launches, introducing a vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus, an ulcerative colitis pill, and a meningococcal vaccine, among others. Investors are now eagerly anticipating updates on Pfizer’s mid-stage trial of its oral obesity medication, danuglipron, and any news related to its $43 billion acquisition of cancer therapy manufacturer, Seagen.