Critics accused pharmaceutical giant Pfizer of “pandemic profiteering” after the company reported sales of $26 billion for 2022’s first quarter. They slammed the company for putting profits over people during the last two years.
Pfizer Posts $26 Billion in Sales During Q1 2022, Gets Accused of Pandemic Profiteering
During the past two years, the pharmaceutical giant led the industry in developing vaccines for COVID-19. Now, it’s posting record revenues as a major world supplier of COVID vaccines and a pill to treat the virus.
While the drugs helped save millions, many critics called out Pfizer for its cavalier attitude during the pandemic.
In particular, they called out Pfizer’s prohibitive vaccine and its refusal to waive patent protection. This would have allowed poorer countries to manufacture a cheaper version of their COVID vaccines.
Last week, activist groups protested against Pfizer by dumping wheelbarrows full of fake money at the company’s UK headquarters.
Protesters hailed from activist groups such as Global Justice Now, Act-Up London, Just Treatment, and Stop Aids protested against Pfizer’s alleged pandemic profiteering.
They converged into Pfizer headquarters on the day of the company’s annual shareholder meeting.
‘Pandemic Profiteering’ Nets $27 Billion in Sales
The New York-based company reported total sales of $25.7 billion during the first three months of 2022.
This is a 77% increase from the same period last year. Pfizer generated a sizable majority of $13.2 billion from the sales of Comirnaty, its COVID vaccine.
Pfizer developed the vaccine with its German partner BioNTech. The uptick in sales was due to increased demand for vaccines, which included doses for children over the age of five. Booster doses also helped with the rise in sales.
Meanwhile, another $1.5 billion in sales came from Paxlovid. This is Pfizer’s COVID treatment pill for patients at risk for complications. Paxlovid received emergency approval from US regulators.
UK and EU health agencies also cleared the use of the drug. All in all, the company made tens of billions of dollars during the pandemic from COVID products.
Meanwhile, BioNTech saw itself transition to profitability after enduring a number of losing years prior to the pandemic.
Activists Accuse Pfizer of Pandemic Profiteering
Now, activists are calling out Pfizer among other pharmaceutical companies for its excessive profits during the pandemic.
Tim Bierley, pharma campaigner at Global Justice Now, said Pfizer made a lot of money cornering the market.
“Throughout the pandemic, Pfizer has refused to share its technology and knowhow. Instead, it has maintained monopoly control over its vaccine and treatment, keeping a chokehold on global supply,” he said.
Bierley accused Pfizer of ignoring the needs of poorer countries despite the emergency situation. “Pfizer continues to put profit over people’s health.
Pfizer’s revenues almost doubled last year and now it looks like the company’s coffers are set to swell even further”. He added that “millions still don’t have access to vaccines or treatments for Covid-19, this continued pandemic profiteering is harrowing.”
Pfizer’s Revenues Doubled in 2021
Last year, Pfizer’s annual revenues doubled to $81.3 billion. This year, the company expects to make record sales of $98 billion to $102 billion.
Half of its anticipated sales will come from its COVID lineup. It expects Comirnaty to post $32 billion and $22 billion from Paxlovid.
On accusations that it refuses to share the formula for COVID vaccines, Pfizer said that it’s impossible. The company said even if it did so, local companies will have trouble replicating the mRNA vaccine.
“It is not as simple as sharing the recipe,” the company said. Producing the vaccine requires more than 280 materials from 86 suppliers in 19 countries.
Watch the CNBC Television news video reporting that Pfizer reported first-quarter earnings, recorded $13.2 billion in Covid vaccine revenue:
Do you agree that Pfizer committed pandemic profiteering last year? Also, do you agree that Pfizer should share its COVID vaccine formula with poorer countries so they can produce local vaccines?
Tell us what you think. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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