Pfizer CEO expects more people will need COVID pills in future, essentially admitting vaccines don’t work.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on Tuesday, February 8, predicted that the company will manufacture 120 million doses of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pill Paxlovid in 2022 – 30 million in the first two quarters and 90 million in the last two quarters of the year.
The antiviral drug received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last December.
Bourla’s prediction came during the announcement of Pfizer’s revenue projections for 2022. It sounds like an admission that COVID-19 vaccines don’t work as advertised as he basically said more people will need Paxlovid in the future. Why would people need the pills if the vaccines can really protect them from the disease? And why should people get the vaccine and risk suffering adverse effects if the pills can cure them?
There are multibillion reasons why, at least from Pfizer’s perspective.
The company expects the combined sales of its COVID-19 vaccine and Paxlovid to top $54 billion this year, which is more than 50 percent of the company’s expected revenues of about $103 billion. The pharmaceutical giant predicted slightly lower 2022 revenues of $32 billion from the vaccine compared to 2021, but increased revenues of $22 billion from the COVID-19 pill.
Pfizer’s 2021 profits doubled to $22 billion on the strength of its vaccine sales of more than three billion doses worldwide while the company’s total revenues in 2021 increased by 95 percent over the previous year – topping $100 billion for the first time in the company’s history.
According to Bourla, 2021 was a watershed year for Pfizer. “Our successes in leading the fight against COVID-19 have not only made a positive difference in the world. I believe they have fundamentally changed our company forever,” he said.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the $36.8 billion the company made from its COVID vaccine alone was the highest annual sales total for any pharmaceutical product in history.
The company engineered a number of recent acquisitions and partnerships to bolster its supply line of drugs and vaccines, including several partnerships announced in January to expand its growing mRNA business.
In December 2021, Pfizer announced it would acquire Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. for $6.7 billion. Pfizer also said it had invested $25 billion on business development since 2019.
Sarat Sethi, managing partner and portfolio manager at investment advisory firm Douglas C. Lane and Associates, told CNBC‘s “Squawk Box” that the promise of COVID vaccine boosters in the future made Pfizer’s “balance sheet bulletproof.” (Related: IT NEVER ENDS: How many doses of vaccine will be pushed for every new coronavirus mutation?)
As Reuters reported, analysts forecast revenue of more than $6.6 billion for the Pfizer shot and $7.6 billion for Moderna in 2023 – mostly from booster sales. They expect the annual market to settle around $5 billion or higher, with additional drugmakers competing for those sales.
Pfizer sets sight on infants and toddlers
Pfizer is also optimistic that the FDA will approve its vaccine for children six months to four years old. Bourla told CNBC he believes the FDA will authorize the company’s COVID vaccine for children under five years old under a fast-track process that allows the agency to review the data as soon as researchers compile it in real time.
“I think the chances are very high for the FDA to approve it,” Bourla said.
Initial results of the Pfizer trial with children under five showed no positive effects from the vaccine. Still, the FDA invited Pfizer to submit the vaccine for approval. (Related: COVID-19 vaccine for all ages: Big Pharma to vaccinate infants soon.)
The FDA’s vaccine advisory committee is scheduled to meet Feb. 15 to consider approval of the shots for infants and toddlers.
Big Pharma billionaires
With billions at stake, it makes you wonder whether Big Pharma companies like Pfizer are in it to protect the people or to profit from them.
Just a few months after the initial rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, nine new billionaires have emerged from the pharmaceutical industry – Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel, co-founder and Chairman Noubar Afeyan, founding investor Robert Langer and early investor Timothy Springer; CanSino Biologics co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer Zhu Tao, co-founder and Senior Vice President Qiu Dongxu and co-founder and Senior Vice President Mao Huinhoa; BioNTech co-founder and CEO Ugur Sahin; and ROVI Chairman Juan Lopez-Belmonte.
They have a combined worth of $19.3 billion as of May 2021.
Additionally, eight existing billionaires with big stakes in Big Pharma companies have seen their combined wealth increase by a staggering $32.2 billion just five months into the vaccine rollout.
They are Zhifei Biological Chairman Jiang Rensheng and family; Serum Institute of India founder Cyrus Poonawalla; Tse Ping of Sinopharm; Zhifei Biological co-founder Wu Guanjiang; Thomas and Andreas Struengmann and their respective families who have stakes with BioNTech and Mega Pharma; Pankaj Patel of Cadila Healthcare; and Patrick Soon-Shiong of ImmunityBio.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not reflect those of GQ or it’s staff.