Pharmaceutical companies that made billions from the pandemic over the past two years selling vaccines and treatments are now up against a steep COVID cliff and investor pressure to spend their windfalls wisely.
Western drugmakers including Pfizer Inc (PFE.N), BioNTech SE (22UAy.DE), Moderna Inc (MRNA.O), Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O), AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L) and Merck & Co (MRK.N) are estimated to have brought in about $100 billion in revenue from COVID vaccines and treatments in 2022.
Company and analyst estimates suggest those sales could fall by nearly two-thirds this year due to built up product inventories around the world including in the countries that pay the most. Population immunity from high rates of vaccination and previous infections means that demand for treatments could dip as well.
These companies are used to steep revenue drops known as patent cliffs that occur when their exclusivities on big-selling drugs expire and generic rivals move in, but they strategize for those swings for years.
Courtesy Reuters. By Michael Erman and Patrick Wingrove