The COVID Gravy Train Is Over: Pfizer & Moderna Shares Down 35% & 49% This Year

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Oct 20, 2023 - 09:45 AM

It took what felt like forever, but at least some reality is making its way back into healthcare. We guess this means no more dancing nurse Tik Tok videos, though. And now that we've seen the "pump" on the healthcare industry from Covid-19, it's time for the "dump".

That was the topic of a new report from Bloomberg which reported that vaccine makers, pharmacy chains, makers of at-home rapid tests - and generally anyone who was cashing checks off the back of the Covid-19 hysteria - is now seeing business suffer, or going belly up. 

The report notes that the biggest "loser" from the nation's return to common sense is Pfizer, who was a major beneficiary of the pandemic surge. The company just dramatically reduced its annual sales outlook by $9 billion on Monday. This comes amid waning demand for its Covid vaccines and Paxlovid therapy.

Moderna also warned this week that "it’s too early to accurately project where vaccination rates will land" for the upcoming year. Shares are the lowest they've been since November 2020, the report says. 

Pfizer shares are down 35% this year and Modena shares are down 49% as the public's appetite for mRNA technology has taken a back seat to new "miracle" weight loss drugs like Ozempic, which have become the key headline on Wall Street healthcare desks over the last several months.

Max Nisen, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, commented: “The weakening demand for the vaccine and Paxlovid goes to show this really is the transition to post-Covid. People are going to have to figure out what that looks like well beyond Pfizer.”

As the report notes, Americans are, for the most part, "over it" when it comes to the pandemic. The U.S. declared an end to its public health emergency in May.

Emerging variants are still in circulation, and while hospital admissions due to Covid-19 have significantly dropped from their apex, September saw the highest levels since March. Remote work is on the decline, and both eateries and airports are bustling with activity.

Pfizer scaling back its financial outlook indicates a changing landscape. This move will likely prompt other companies that profited from Covid-19 treatments to reconsider and possibly revise their own financial projections, Bloomberg wrote

Meanwhile, the report points out that the uneven launch of this season's vaccine complicates the assessment of actual demand. Shortages of both Moderna's and Pfizer's latest doses have led pharmacies to deny service to individuals eager for immunization since the vaccines' autumn release.

And it's not just vaccine producers experiencing a slump in Covid-related sales. Lucira Health, a maker of at-home Covid tests, filed for bankruptcy in February, while test maker Ellume liquidated in June. Abbott Laboratories also faced a sharp drop in Covid testing revenue this year, leading to job cuts. However, unlike smaller companies, Abbott has other products like diabetes monitors to balance out the dip in Covid-related earnings.

Recall, Zero Hedge contributors were detailing as early as January 2023 that the mRNA gravy train would eventually come to an unceremonious end. Now it's just a question of when the rug gets pulled out from underneath Novo Nordisk's Ozempic and Wegovy "miracle" weight loss drugs.