Strategy

Pfizer had a rough 2023

Revenues from its Covid products plummeted.
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The waning of Covid might be good for our lungs, but it’s been bad for Pfizer.

The drugmaker reported revenues of $58.5 billion in 2023, down 42% from 2022, when it brought in $100.3 billion. Its net income was $2.1 billion for the year, down 93% from $31.4 billion in 2022.

Falling sales of Comirnaty, Pfizer’s Covid vaccine, and Paxlovid, its anti-Covid drug, are largely to blame. The Covid products together brought in $12.5 billion in revenue in 2023, 78% less than in 2022. Pfizer also reported $3.5 billion in reverse revenue for Paxlovid in Q4 because it refunded the US government for 6.5 million unused doses.

Fewer people are getting updated Covid vaccinations, Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s CEO, told CNBC. Uptake of Covid boosters has been meager: 92.3% of US adults have received at least one dose of any Covid vaccine, according to data from the CDC, but only 20.5% have gotten a booster.

Pfizer’s revenues look significantly better minus the impact of the Covid products. Without them, its revenues would have been up 8% over Q4 2022, and up 7% for 2023 as a whole.

Pfizer has responded to the dramatic decline of its Covid products by launching a “cost realignment program” which it anticipates will save it $3.5 billion a year. The company conducted layoffs and announced plans to close plants, and cut R&D funding by 22% in the past quarter.

And it’s bet big on oncology, acquiring biotech firm Seagen, which develops cancer drugs, for $43 billion. Though it’s early days, that last move looks promising: Pfizer has earned around $120 million from Seagen drugs since the acquisition became official in December 2023.

News built for finance pros

CFO Brew helps finance pros navigate their roles with insights into risk management, compliance, and strategy through our newsletter, virtual events, and digital guides.