New York – Pfizer again lifted its 2021 profit and revenue outlook on Tuesday, bolstered by the latest surge in COVID-19 vaccinations, including regulatory approvals for boosters and shots for younger populations.
The drugmaker now expects 2.3bn dosage deliveries of the COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 for the shots jointly produced with Germany’s BioNTech, up 200mn from its previous forecast in July. That will bring total 2021 revenues for the vaccine to US$36bn, from US$33.5bn.
Pfizer said higher forecast 2021 results reflect the boost from the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as the performance of Pfizer’s broader business.
On Friday, US health authorities approved Pfizer’s vaccine for children aged five to 11, paving the way for 28mn young Americans to soon get immunised.
Pfizer’s shares rallied on the announcement, which comes on the heels of similar upbeat earnings in May and July also showing how the vaccine has transformed the drugmaker’s financial performance over the last year.
“Despite all we have been able to accomplish to date, we remain focused on our future, not our past,” said chief executive Albert Bourla. “Our ultimate goal is to help bring this pandemic to an end as quickly as possible, but also to apply the lessons we have learned through our work on the vaccine to all of our therapeutic areas.”
Bourla said the company had about three-fourths of the US market share in late October and about 80 per cent in the European Union, the result ‘of our booster being the first to receive emergency use authorisation and our two-dose series being preferred by some countries around the world for use in certain younger populations’.
In the most recent quarter, the company’s revenues were US$24.1bn, more than double the level in the year-ago period, with US$13bn coming from revenues tied to the COVID-19 vaccine. Profits shot up to US$8.1bn, compared with US$1.5bn in the year-ago period.
While Pfizer’s financial performance has thrived thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine, the company has been criticised by non-governmental organisations for placing profits above public health in its dealings with governments over the shot.
A recent report by advocacy group Public Citizen accused the company of ‘bullying’ authorities and called for the US government to assume greater leverage with the company.
Pfizer has defended its comportment, saying in Tuesday’s press release that it plans to sell the US government 1bn doses ‘at a not-for-profit price to be donated to the world’s poorest nations at no charge to those countries’.