Pfizer share: The Covid cliff is here – what to expect for 2023

Pfizer (PFE) called for sharp declines this year in its Covid vaccine and antiviral pill, but Pfizer shares turned higher on Tuesday.


After a whopping $100.3 billion in revenue in 2022, the pharmaceutical giant expects 2023 to be a year of decline. Pfizer called for its Covid vaccine, Comirnaty, to generate $13.5 billion in sales this year, down 64%. Sales of the antiviral pill Paxlovid are expected to crash 58% to $8 billion.

The expected drop comes in a year when the US is expected to end its public health emergency. The two Covid products are also coming to the commercial market in the US soon, meaning they cannot rely on a steady stream of US government contracts.

SVB Securities analyst David Risinger said Pfizer “reset” expectations for 2023.

“In short, Pfizer’s 2023 forecast, backed by Q4 results, was disappointing despite the company’s downgrading of its financial outlook in recent weeks,” he said in a note to clients.

During afternoon trading in the stock market, Pfizer shares were up 0.2% today near 43.60.

Pfizer Share: Mixed Q4

The December quarter came out mixed with adjusted Pfizer earnings of $1.14 per share above analysts’ demand of $1.05 per share. But revenue was light at $24.29 billion versus guidance for $24.39 billion. On a year-over-year basis, revenues were up 45%, while sales grew 2%.

Comirnaty generated $11.33 billion in sales, down 9% on a strict, as reported basis. But that beat expectations by more than 50%, said Risinger of the SVB. Meanwhile, Paxlovid revenue of $1.83 billion catapulted 2.313% higher than the same three months in 2021, but missed out on forecasts of $5.12 billion, a miss of more than 64%, he said.

Outside of its Covid products, Pfizer posted mixed results for its biggest money makers. Sales of the cancer drug Ibrance fell 8% to $1.28 billion, beating expectations. Blood thinner Eliquis brought in $1.48 billion in sales, down 1%, and also below forecasts. But revenue from the pneumonia vaccine Prevnar skyrocketed by a third to $1.74 billion.

For this year, Pfizer forecasts adjusted earnings of $3.25-$3.45 per share and revenue of $67 billion to $71 billion. At the halfway mark, revenues would be down 49% and revenues would be down 31%. Pfizer stock analysts had forecast earnings of $4.33 per share and revenue of $72.88 billion.

This story has been updated to reflect that Prevnar is a pneumonia vaccine.

Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.


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