Johnson & Johnson suspends sales forecast for Covid vaccine

New York, United States April 19-Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday suspended sales guidance for its Covid-19 vaccine during the U.S. pharmaceutical giant’s quarterly earnings call, as demand lagged that of vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer.

“Given the global supply overhang and demand uncertainty, the Company is suspending its COVID-19 vaccine sales guidance,” J&J said in a statement, adding that the move will not have ” no impact on adjusted operating earnings per share”.

The company’s chief executive, Joaquin Duato, said first-quarter results – in which estimated sales reported excluding Covid-19 vaccine sales figures were up 3.8-4.8% from the same period a year ago – “demonstrate strong performance across the business, despite macro headwinds.

On Wall Street, shares of J&J fell $0.4 to $177 in electronic trading ahead of the New York Stock Exchange‘s opening bell.

In February, The New York Times reported that Johnson & Johnson had temporarily suspended production at a key factory making its Covid-19 vaccine, although the company stressed it was still meeting delivery commitments.

J&J said at the time that it expected sales of $3 billion to $3.5 billion in 2022 for its Covid vaccine, far lower than Pfizer’s forecast of $32 billion for the same period.

A panel of medical experts appointed by the US government on Thursday unanimously recommended Covid mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna over J&J’s vaccine.

J&J’s vaccine was initially praised because it could be stored at refrigerator temperature and showed good efficacy against earlier strains of the coronavirus after a single injection.

But evidence later emerged linking it to a rare form of clotting, particularly in women of childbearing age, leading authorities to briefly halt and then resume its use in April last year.

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Sallie R. Loera