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Misleading
misleading

CLAIM ID

ac93b73e

Pfizer made a $24.1 billion profit in the third quarter of 2021.

Pfizer did indeed make a $24.1 billion profit in the third quarter of 2021. However, only 60 percent of its profits came from vaccines.

Since the start of the pandemic, many have falsely claimed that pharmaceutical companies are rolling out COVID-19 vaccines purely for profit. Pfizer was one of the first companies to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and has been subject to many such baseless claims.

Recent social media posts have claimed that Pfizer made a $24.1 billion profit in the third quarter of 2021, implying the vaccines were made for business interests and not to help fight the virus. The post also compared this year's profits to 2020 and said it increased over the year. Though the company did make a profit over the year, this does not imply that it developed a COVID-19 vaccine purely for profit.

Pfizer released its quarterly report on November 2, 2021. The report stated that the company's revenues for the third quarter of 2021 are $24.1 billion, reflecting 130 percent operational growth. Excluding Comirnaty, revenues grew 7 percent operationally to $11.1 billion. Comirnaty includes direct sales and alliance revenues related to sales of the Pfizer-BioNTech SE (BioNTech) COVID-19 vaccine, which are recorded within Pfizer's Vaccines therapeutic area. The report also compared the quarterly profit from 2020 to 2021. "Third-quarter 2021 revenues totaled $24.1 billion, an increase of $13.8 billion, or 134 percent, compared to the prior-year quarter, reflecting operational growth of $13.4 billion, or 130 percent, as well as a favorable impact of foreign exchange of $421 million, or 4 percent."

Bloomberg reported that Pfizer is anticipating 2021 revenues of approximately $36 billion for Comirnaty. This would mean 2.3 billion doses are expected to be delivered in the 2021 fiscal year.

According to CNN, vaccine sales alone were responsible for 60 percent of the profits as vaccine revenue rose to $14.6 billion from only $1.7 billion a year earlier. As Pfizer told CNN, "The company said its COVID vaccine sales accounted for $13 billion of that revenue. Revenue outside of its COVID-19 vaccine business was up a far more modest 7 percent."

Many countries, including the U.S., are paying for the vaccines with taxpayer dollars, administering doses free of charge to all people, regardless of insurance or citizenship status. Vaccination providers can seek appropriate reimbursement from the recipient's plan or program (e.g., private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid) for a vaccine administration fee. However, providers cannot charge the vaccine recipient the bill's balance.

On August 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully approved Pfizer's vaccine. The vaccine also continued and continues to be available under emergency use for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for a third dose in some immunocompromised individuals. The vaccine has gone through clinical trials and is proven safe and effective in fighting against COVID-19.

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