The world’s bestselling drug, AbbVie’s Humira, raked in $19.8 billion in 2020 revenues. Pfizer believes its COVID-19 vaccine could surpass that and then some, despite its only being on the scene since late 2020, the company said during its quarterly earnings report on Tuesday.
In fact, the COVID vaccine could make up more than half of the drug giant’s 2021 revenues.
Pfizer is anticipating $26 billion in COVID vaccine sales this year. To put that in perspective: In 2020, all of Pfizer’s revenues added up to $41.9 billion. That means the $26 billion figure for a single product would surpass 60% of the firm’s total sales last year.
Pfizer has a wide grasp of the pharmaceutical market with products ranging from Viagra to Prevnar, a pneumonia vaccine that regularly attracts anywhere from $5 billion to $7 billion in revenues in a given year. Prevnar sales saw a boost in 2020 as well that the company directly attributes to “increased adult uptake in certain markets resulting from greater vaccine awareness for respiratory illnesses, including specifically pneumococcal disease, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
But that pales in comparison to the $26 billion projection Pfizer is putting forth for its COVID vaccine. It’s a seemingly outlandish figure for a vaccine, a product that is typically low-cost following negotiations with governments and public health entities to expand access in developing nations. The dynamic changes dramatically during a global pandemic when highly populous nations like India are vying for doses under dire circumstances.
The trend lines also suggest Pfizer’s projections aren’t out of whack. The company brought in $3.5 billion in revenues from COVID vaccine sales in the first three months of 2021 alone. With manufacturing of the jab continually ramping up, as well as expanded clinical studies in children and pregnant women that could widen the vaccine’s reach, revenues will certainly balloon.
The question is, What happens next? If the coronavirus becomes akin to the seasonal flu, there would likely be a sharp drop-off in sales over time once the pandemic is somewhat contained. But Pfizer’s shot on this particular shot seems destined to pay off this year.
More health care and Big Pharma coverage from Fortune:
- Moderna is working toward a single shot for both COVID and flu protection
- Pfizer’s COVID-19 treatment pill could be available by year’s end
- West Virginia sets new bar for COVID vaccine incentives with $100 reward
- Americans can travel to Europe this summer. But will they want to?
- The 2021 Fortune/IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals
Our mission to make business better is fueled by readers like you. To enjoy unlimited access to our journalism, subscribe today.