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A continuing decline in sales of COVID-19 products clips revenue at Pfizer

Pfizer lost more than $2 billion in the third quarter as an expected COVID-19 product sales decline clipped revenue.

Sales of the drugmaker's COVID treatment Paxlovid and the vaccine Comirnaty slid 97% and 70%, respectively, as Pfizer, like its competitors, switched to selling on the commercial market instead of to governments.

Both the company and analysts who follow it expected revenue from those key products to tumble this year before eventually rebounding as commercial sales take hold. Two weeks ago, Pfizer Inc. warned that sales of its COVID-19 drugs were weaker than it had expected, and it cut its annual revenue expectations by $9 billion.

Falling sales of both Paxlovid and Comirnaty also trimmed sales in the second quarter, but Pfizer said in August that it expected a rebound in the second half of 2023.

In the third quarter, the drugmaker booked a non-cash, $5.6 billion charge for inventory write-offs of the COVID products.

Outside those products, the drugmaker said its operational revenue, which excludes the impact of foreign exchange rates, grew 10%, helped in part by growth from its Prevnar pneumonia vaccines.

“Our core business is performing nicely,” Chief Financial Officer David Denton told analysts. “We continue to make traction.”

Overall, the New York company reported a loss adjusted for one-time gains or losses of 17 cents per share. That was much narrower loss than the 42 cents that Wall Street had expected, according to a survey of industry analysts by FactSet.

Total revenue fell 42% to $13.23 billion. Analysts had forecast revenue of $13.77 billion.

Pfizer expects full-year adjusted earnings of $1.45 to $1.65 per share.

Analysts expect, on average, earnings of $2.13 per share, according to FactSet.

The company has started a cost cutting program that it expects to yield at least $3.5 billion in savings by the end of 2024.

Pfizer shares slid 30 cents to $30.25 in midday trading Tuesday while broader indexes were mixed.

The stock price has tumbled about 40% so far this year while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index has climbed more than 8%.

Pfizer's share price had topped $60 and hit an all-time high at the end of 2021, a year in which Comirnaty brought in more than $36 billion in revenue.


A portion of this story was generated by Automated Insights ( using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on PFE at