Low demand, supply surplus leads J&J to suspend sales forecast of Covid vaccine
Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson says it’s currently unable to provide a sales forecast for its Covid-19 vaccine. According to the firm, vaccine hesitancy in low-income countries, coupled with existing low demand in wealthier nations, has led to a surplus of stock. J&J had previously forecast sales of up to US$3.5 billion for this year, according to a Reuters report.
Demand for the J&J single-dose vaccine has been affected by reports of rare but potentially fatal blood clots linked to the jab, along with manufacturing hiccups and concerns about the vaccine’s efficacy when compared to others. The J&J vaccine makes up about 3% of the doses administered in the US and around 2% in Europe.
According to the Reuters report, J&J executives say a lack of acceptance in lower-income countries has had a negative affect on sales. The World Health Organisation says many such countries have ordered fewer doses than they need to meet the goal of vaccinating 70% of their population by mid-2022.
J&J’s vaccine is sold at a not-for-profit price, with the company recording sales of US$2.39 billion last year. In the first quarter of this year, sales of the vaccine accounted for US$457 million. Meanwhile, Pfizer is forecasting US$32 billion in 2022 sales of its vaccine, while Moderna forecasts US$21 billion this year.
In related news, J&J is optimistic that its medical devices unit will see some recovery this year, having been hit by Covid delays to non-urgent surgeries last year. The firm is also forecasting above-market growth in its pharmaceutical business this year, although it has fallen short of Wall Street estimates for the first quarter of 2022.
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