Pfizer sees high demand for Covid-19 pill as profits jump

Pfizer reported another quarter of huge revenue increases due to the Covid-19 vaccine

Pfizer executives said Tuesday they are confident of strong demand for the company’s Covid-19 antiviral treatment amid easing pandemic rules as the big drugmaker reported another round of strong earnings.

The US pharmaceutical giant, reporting surging first-quarter profits based on a big jump in revenues from its Covid-19 vaccine, said its Paxlovid treatment for the virus would be a valuable means for governments to limit the severity of outbreaks as they ease social distancing and masking rules.

Citing rising vaccine fatigue, Bourla said the company is also focused on a Covid-19 vaccine booster that provides immunity for a year.

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“There’s a tremendous pressure across the world to get our lives back,” Bourla said of the social and political impetus to ease pandemic rules. “As a result of these things it’s very clear that we will have waves” of Covid-19 infections.

The US drugmaker reported first-quarter profits of $7.9 billion, up 61 percent, based on a 77 percent surge in revenues to $25.7 billion.

But the company confirmed its full-year revenue forecast of about $100 billion, which is an approximately 23 percent increase on the 2021 level. More than half the revenues are expected to come from the Covid-19 vaccine and therapeutic.

In the first quarter, Paxlovid took in $1.5 billion in global sales. But Pfizer expects 2022 sales of the medicine of $22 billion as it ramps up production and distribution.

The treatment has received emergency or conditional approval in 40 countries so far, the company said.

“What we’re also seeing is that we don’t have any inventory on hand,” Hwang said. “Every dose that we produce is being shipped out.”

But company officials said the data thus far suggests that the amount of cases is small and may have to do with unusual patient characteristics rather than the drug itself.

But WHO said it was “extremely concerned” that low- and middle-income countries would be “pushed to the end of the queue” amid tight global supplies.


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