Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) on Tuesday forecast a bigger-than-expected drop in sales of its COVID-19 vaccine and pill in 2023, intensifying investor concerns over demand for the products as governments reduce orders.
The forecast reflects a “transition year” for sales of the two best-selling Pfizer products, said Chief Executive Albert Bourla.
Pfizer’s total annual sales crossed the $100 billion-mark for the first time in 2022, driven by the more than $56 billion in sales of the COVID-19 vaccine and Paxlovid antiviral.
However, sales of the vaccine and pill are expected to reach their lowest levels this year before potentially returning to growth in 2024.
The U.S. drugmaker estimated annual sales of $13.5 billion from the vaccine, below Refinitiv estimates of $14.39 billion, and projected $8 billion in sales of Paxlovid, short of analysts’ expectation of $10.33 billion.
Pfizer’s shares fell 2.8% to $42.34 premarket. The stock has tumbled 15% this month, through Monday’s close.
Bourla said the company expects to start selling its vaccine Comirnaty through commercial channels in the United States in the second half of 2023, rather than selling the shots directly to the government.
In the United States, the company hopes to roughly quadruple the price of the COVID-19 vaccine later this year as it moves to a private market.
The drugmaker splits profit from sales of the vaccine with German partner BioNTech .
Analysts and investors have been looking for clarity on China demand for Paxlovid, where the drug is only covered by the country’s broad healthcare insurance plan until late March.
Pfizer said its current 2023 forecast for sales does not assume any revenue from China after April 1, but Bourla said the company expects to offer Paxlovid in the private market thereafter.