Pfizer stock: The Covid cliff is here — what to expect for 2023

Pfizer (PFE) has called for steep declines this year in its Covid vaccine and antiviral pill, but Pfizer shares reversed on Tuesday.


After hitting $100.3 billion in sales in 2022, the pharmaceutical giant expects 2023 to mark a year of decline. Pfizer has asked its Covid vaccine, Comirnaty, to generate $13.5 billion in sales this year, down 64%. Sales of the antiviral pill Paxlovid are expected to drop 58% to $8 billion.

The expected drop comes in a year when the United States is expected to end its public health emergency. Both Covid products will also hit the commercial market in the United States soon, meaning they won’t be able to rely on a steady stream of US government contracts.

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

“Conclusion: Pfizer’s guidance for 2023 provided with fourth quarter results was disappointing despite the company having reduced its financial outlook in recent weeks,” it said in a note to clients.

In midday trading in the stock market today, Pfizer stock was up 0.2% near 43.60.

Pfizer stock: Mixed fourth quarter

The December quarter came out mixed with Pfizer adjusted earnings of $1.14 per share above analysts’ call for $1.05 per share. But sales were light at $24.29 billion compared to expectations of $24.39 billion. On an annual basis, profits climbed 45% while sales increased 2%.

Comirnaty generated $11.33 billion in sales, down 9% on a strict basis, as reported. But it exceeded expectations by more than 50%, said SVB’s Risinger. Meanwhile, Paxlovid’s sales of $1.83 billion catapulted 2,313% higher from the same three months in 2021 but largely missed forecasts of $5.12 billion, a shortfall of more than 64 %, did he declare.

Outside of its Covid products, Pfizer has seen mixed results for its biggest moneymakers. Sales of the cancer drug Ibrance fell 8% to $1.28 billion and missed expectations. Blood thinner Eliquis posted revenue of $1.48 billion, down 1%, and also below forecast. But revenue from the pneumonia vaccine Prevnar soared by a third to $1.74 billion.

For the year, Pfizer forecasts adjusted earnings of $3.25 to $3.45 per share and revenue of $67 billion to $71 billion. Midway through, profits would drop 49% and sales would drop 31%. Stock analysts at Pfizer had forecast earnings of $4.33 per share and revenue of $72.88 billion.

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

Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.


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