The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic propelled pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s earnings to a record $100 billion last year, almost $57 billion of which was driven by its vaccine and antiviral pill Paxlovid, the company reported Tuesday.
The vaccine accounted for $37.8 billion, up just 3% from 2021, of Pfizer’s total sales as demand for the shots slowed. But sales of its blockbuster antiviral treatment made up for that softening, surging to $18.9 billion in 2022, the first full year that Paxlovid was on the market.
Pfizer’s combined sales from its Covid vaccine and antiviral treatment generated more revenue last year than it had in total sales in 2019, before the pandemic became a global crisis that killed more than 6.8 million people and upended world markets. Those results won’t be repeated this year.
Pfizer told investors to expect revenue to decline in 2023 by as much as 33% to between $67 billion and $71 billion as the world emerges from the pandemic and demand for its blockbuster Covid drugs slows.
Covid vaccines sales are projected to plummet by 64% this year to $13.5 billion from $37.8 billion in 2022. Paxlovid sales are expected to drop 58% to $8 billion in 2023 from $18.9 billion in 2022.
Pfizer is also forecasting that its full-year earnings per share will drop by as much as 50%, to between $3.25 and $3.45, from a record EPS of $6.58 in 2022.
The company’s fourth-quarter results were largely in line with analysts’ expectations.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla last quarter laid out a 2030 growth plan for the company that looks beyond the pandemic. Bourla said he sees future revenue growth from RSV vaccines and medications for migraines and ulcerative colitis, among other drug products.