Pfizer reported a third-quarter loss during Tuesday’s earnings call as the demand for its COVID-19 vaccines and one popular antiviral medication to treat the virus decreased substantially, according to CNBC.
The pharmaceutical giant announced it recorded a write-off of $5.6 billion due to the drug Paxlovid and its vaccine, Comirnaty.
Paxlovid lost the company $4.7 billion, while the mRNA vaccine was responsible for $900 million in losses.
The company reported a quarterly revenue of $13.2 billion, which was down 42 percent from 2022’s second quarter.
According to CNBC, Pfizer’s COVID shots generated $1.31 billion in revenue from July to September.
That is a 70 percent decrease when compared with the same period from the previous year.
Sales of Paxlovid, meanwhile, were down 97 percent year-over-year.
The drug maker agreed to take back nearly 8 million unused courses of Paxlovid from the U.S. government, along with its inventory of the vaccine, Reuters reported.
“One-time items include a non-cash revenue reversal of approximately $4.2 billion related to the return of an estimated 7.9 million treatment courses of U.S. government [emergency use authorization]-labeled Paxlovid expected in the fourth quarter of 2023 and a non-cash charge of $5.6 billion recorded to Cost of Sales in the third quarter of 2023 for COVID products inventory write-offs and other charges,” it said.
That charge included $4.7 billion for Paxlovid and $0.9 billion for Comirnaty.
Shares of Pfizer opened at $30.32 on Tuesday morning — down from a record high of more than $57 per share in December 2021.
Tuesday was the first time the company had reported losses since 2019, the year before the pandemic began.
Reuters attributed the shrinking demand for vaccines and other COVID treatments to “population-wide immunity.”
“Sales of the COVID-19 pill and the vaccine it makes with German partner BioNTech SE had boosted Pfizer’s revenue to record levels in the last two years,” it reported Tuesday. “However, annual vaccination rates have dropped sharply and demand for treatments has dipped as population-wide immunity has increased.”
Axios reported in August that Pfizer expected 100 million COVID shots would be administered in the U.S. in 2023.
By the end of June, only 12.4 million such doses had ended up in the arms of Americans.
Pfizer will attempt to cut its operating costs through a $3.5 billion program that was announced before Tuesday’s expected losses.
In its earnings report, the company shared optimism about its non-COVID drugs.
“We are encouraged by the strong performance of Pfizer’s non-COVID products in the third quarter of 2023, including significant contributions from new launches and robust year-over-year growth for several key in-line brands,” Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.
Chief Financial Officer David Denton added, “We are extremely pleased by the strong 10% operational revenue growth of Pfizer’s non-COVID products in the third quarter of 2023.”