Posted For; Willie Wonka
Pfizer reported revenue of more than $22 billion during quarter three of 2022 on its earnings call Tuesday.
The impressive revenue totals were driven largely by coronavirus-related products, many of which were purchased directly by the United States and other national governments. Quarter three (Q3) continued a string of strong, sometimes record-setting financial performances for the pharmaceutical giant during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One-third of the company’s revenue came from the antiviral pill Paxlovid, which is given in a five-day course to patients quickly after the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Governments and NGOs, from Germany to Mexico to The Global Fund, made sizable acquisitions of the drug during Q3.
Paxlovid has come under scrutiny from some medical experts due to the frequency of “rebound” cases, in which a patient will test negative for COVID-19 after completing their course of treatment with the oral pill, only to test positive and experience symptoms again in the coming days. Pfizer claims the treatment still helps prevent serious illness and that these rebound cases are typically less severe than the first go-around.
President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky are among the high-level U.S. officials who themselves have experienced rebound cases after taking the drug.
Nearly 20% of Pfizer’s Q3 revenue came from Comirnaty, the company’s COVID-19 vaccine. The Biden administration has made repeated orders of Pfizer’s vaccine since it first became available, including 105 million doses of the company’s bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine in July.
Pfizer recorded more than $81 billion in revenue in 2021, about double what it brought in in 2020, thanks largely to the coronavirus pandemic. CEO Albert Bourla has said he expects the company to continue profiting from COVID-19 for years to come, as vaccines potentially become seasonal and new therapeutics are developed. During Tuesday’s earning call, he said it’s entirely possible for the company to continue making billions of dollars from COVID-19-related products into 2030.
However, the Biden administration announced it would stop purchasing COVID-19 vaccines for free distribution to the public from Pfizer and Moderna after the latest round of booster shots it acquired ahead of a potential fall Omicron surge, turning acquisition and distribution over to the private market. In response, Pfizer announced it would be jacking up the price of its vaccines by roughly four times, to between $110 and $130 per dose.