Pfizer Vaccine Bonanza Slows — But Bill Gates Sold Early, Made Huge Profits
Pfizer on Tuesday announced 2022 profits of $31.4 billion on record sales of $100.3 billion but warned investors to set their sights much lower in 2023, as sales of COVID-19 vaccines and Paxlovid slow amid growing questions about their safety and efficacy.
February 1, 2023: Pfizer on Tuesday announced 2022 profits of $31.4 billion on record sales of $100.3 billion. Sales from its COVID-19 vaccine and Paxlovid, used to treat COVID-19, totaled $56 billion — more than half the vaccine maker’s annual revenue.
However, the company warned investors to expect sales of those two products to plummet up to 58% in 2023, to only about $21.5 billion — $3 billion short of Wall Street projections. Pfizer projected total 2023 revenue of only about $67-$71 billion.
The news followed on the heels of a string of developments calling into question the COVID-19 vaccines — including comments last week by billionaire and vaccine investor Bill Gates, who criticized the efficacy and durability of the vaccines during a talk at Australia’s Lowy Institute.
Investigative journalist Jordan Schachtel on Tuesday revealed the extent of Gates’ profit-making from his investments in Pfizer partner BioNTech. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made 15 times its initial investment when the foundation sold its BioNTech shares at the height of their value in 2021.
Pfizer’s stock fell 15% in January.
Pfizer and Moderna said they likely will quadruple the price of their COVID-19 vaccines to between $110 to $130 per dose when the U.S. government stops paying for the shots later this year.
Bill Gates reaped massive profits from ‘impeccably timed’ sale of Pfizer stock
Schachtel reviewed Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings and found the Gates Foundation downsized its BioNTech holdings by 86% (from 1,038,674 to 148,674 shares) over the third quarter of 2021, BioNTech’s best-performing quarter.
The foundation had purchased the shares in September 2019 — just months before the pandemic was announced — at a pre-public offering price of $18.10 per share.
When the foundation sold the shares — at an average sale price of $300 per share — it pocketed a profit of approximately $260 million, or more than 15 times its original investment.
Schachtel said $242 million of that profit is untaxed because the money was invested through the foundation.
The Gates Foundation sold an additional 2 million shares prior to the third quarter of 2021, and subsequently sold 1.4 million shares of CureVac, a German-based mRNA company, making another $50 million, Schachtel found.
“Bill Gates secured hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from his foundation’s impeccably timed investment in BioNTech — the Pfizer partner for its mRNA Covid shots — before dramatically reversing course and proceeding to openly cast doubt on the whole of mRNA technology,” Schachtel wrote.
Speaking at the Lowy Institute, Gates said:
“We also need to fix the three problems of [COVID-19] vaccines. The current vaccines are not infection-blocking. They’re not broad, so when new variants come up you lose protection, and they have very short duration, particularly in the people who matter, which are old people.”
With those comments, “Gates amped up his doubtful rhetoric about mRNA, continuing to distance himself from the once hyped technology that he used to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in pandemic profits,” Schachtel said.
More questions swirl around COVID vaccines
Over 85% of the U.S. population hasn’t been boosted, despite the massive government-sponsored media push, suggesting people aren’t buying the narrative that the boosters are necessary, safe and effective, Russell Brand said.
The U.K. announced last Wednesday it will no longer recommend COVID-19 boosters for healthy people under 50 and will discontinue free distribution of the primary two-shot series.
Denmark ended its universal COVID-19 vaccination campaigns for healthy individuals in February 2022.
And the Biden administration announced that it will end the COVID-19 national and public health emergencies on May 11, which will end government-sponsored testing, vaccination and treatment.
Several prominent doctors have also publicly raised concerns about the adverse effects of the vaccines.
This weekend a number of healthcare professionals and doctors also took to Twitter, swearing not to take any more vaccines without randomized controlled trials.
Vinay Prasad, M.D., MPH, said he wouldn’t take any additional shots until clinical trial data become available. “I took at least one dose against my will,” Prasad said. “It was unethical and scientifically bankrupt.”
Notable participants in the campaign also include Dr. Todd Lee, an infectious disease expert at McGill University, Dr. Mark Silverberg, Ph.D., who founded the Toronto Immune and Digestive Health Institute, Dr. Tracy Høeg, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco and Kevin Bass, M.S., a medical student whose op-ed in Newsweek Monday called out the scientific community for its role in perpetuating a false COVID-19 narrative.
Late Sunday night, Retsef Levi, Ph.D., with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, posted a video on Twitter calling for an end to COVID-19 mRNA vaccination, The Defender reported.
Levi said the vaccines failed to deliver the promised efficacy, and that based on his risk analysis, the vaccines “cause unprecedented levels of harm, including the death of young people and children.”
Meanwhile, Pfizer officials face a potential ban from the European Parliament due to the company’s lack of transparency regarding COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreements during the pandemic.
Pfizer in a ‘transition year,’ CEO says
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in the earnings press release that 2023 would be a “transition year” for Pfizer’s COVID-19 products, before likely returning to growth in 2024.
“Our focus is always on what is next. As we turn to 2023, we expect to once again set records, with potentially the largest number of new product and indication launches that we’ve ever had in such a short period of time.”
Reuters reported Tuesday that Pfizer also will lose patent protections for some big-selling drugs after 2025.
To make up for the loss of revenue the vaccine maker has turned to acquisitions, spending about $25 billion to buy Biohaven Pharmaceutical, Arena Pharmaceuticals and Global Blood Therapeutics.
The company also launched five new products last year and hopes to introduce as many as 14 more over the next year and a half, including a vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus and an mRNA flu vaccine.
During a meeting last week of the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee, the agency said it was investigating whether the stroke safety signal the FDA identified, associated with the bivalent vaccines, might be related to the co-administration of the flu and COVID-19 vaccines.