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Pfizer confirms forecast, sees mixed COVID-19 impact on sales

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New York (AFP)

Pfizer reaffirmed its 2020 profit forecast Tuesday following solid results that showed a mixed effect of the COVID-19 crisis on medical product sales.

Revenues at the pharmaceutical giant were dented by the halt to non-essential surgeries, and Pfizer also ceased in-person meetings with healthcare professionals in many markets, impeding prescriptions of some new drugs.

But Pfizer also pointed to increased sales of drugs stemming from consumers seeking to avoid pharmaceutical visits. Some products also got a boost from their apparent use to treat COVID-19, even though they have not been approved for that use, the company said.

Net income came in at $3.4 billion, 12 percent below last year, which translated into per-share results that topped analyst expectations.

Revenues declined eight percent to $12.0 billion.

Pfizer confirmed its full-year forecasts for revenues and adjusted profits, while tweaking a number of other aspects of its outlook.

It also said it faces no liquidity problems for "the forseeable future."

Pfizer boosted by $500 million the range of its research and development budget for spending on a potential vaccine for COVID-19 as well as evaluation of existing products to treat the virus.

Pfizer saw an increase in some medicines that it believes have been used in response to COVID-19, including Prevnar 13, a vaccine for pneumococcal pneumonia as well as some sterile injectable products used for patients on ventilators.

"None of these products are approved for the treatment of COVID-19 and, therefore, Pfizer does not know the benefit/risk profile for their use in this disease," the company said.

Pfizer halted recruitments for some new clinical trials in March, but resumed the activities in late April.

The company has not had problems distributing its products, in part thanks to "newly available commercial air capacity to transport inventory," it said.

Shares rose 2.0 percent in pre-market trading to $39.10.

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