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Pfizer lifts forecast, expecting return of medical activity

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Pfizer reported a drop in second-quarter profits Tuesday, but lifted its full-year forecast on expectations that medical activities curtailed by coronavirus will return in the second half of 2020.

[NEW YORK] Pfizer reported a drop in second-quarter profits Tuesday, but lifted its full-year forecast on expectations that medical activities curtailed by coronavirus will return in the second half of 2020.

The drugmaker, which is working on a vaccine for Covid-19, said it temporarily suspended clinical trials during the second quarter and halted marketing meetings with medical professionals, with the latter impacting new prescriptions in the United States and other markets.

The company also suffered a hit of around US$500 million from reduced visits to doctors by patients in the US due to the outbreak.

But these trends were partially offset by higher sales for some items that have been used to treat Covid-19, such as sterile injectable products.

The drugmaker reported profits of US$3.4 billion, down 32 per cent from the year-ago period. Revenues fell 11 per cent to US$11.8 billion.

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Pfizer boosted its full-year adjusted earnings targets by three cents to US$2.85 to US$2.95 a share. This shift reflects an "ongoing gradual global recovery" from the negative coronavirus impacts in the first half of the year, Pfizer said.

The drugmaker expects a "gradual" increase in patients' visits with physicians, vaccination rates and elective surgeries and increases in new prescriptions.

Pfizer said it began dosing patients in the US on Monday for a coronavirus vaccine. The current trial plans to enroll up to 30,000 participants.

If the trial is successful, Pfizer and partner BioNTech expect to seek regulatory approval as early as October.

The US last week signed a US$1.95 billion agreement with American pharma giant Pfizer and BioNTech for 100 million doses to be delivered if regulatory approval is granted.

AFP

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