Jul 30, 2020 - Health

The deep decline in vaccine sales

A vaccine syringe with a GlaxoSmithKline box in the background.
GSK's Twinrix vaccine. Photo: Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

Global stay-at-home orders stemming from the coronavirus pandemic — especially those in the U.S. — have led to steep sales declines in routine vaccinations.

The big picture: Although more people are getting their vaccines now, "there remains some way to go to get back to pre-COVID levels for adult vaccinations," GlaxoSmithKline CEO Emma Walmsley said on an investor call Wednesday.

By the numbers:

  • Sales of GlaxoSmithKline's vaccines in the second quarter plummeted 29% from the same period in 2019, totaling £1.13 billion.
  • Pfizer's vaccine sales fell 9% to $1.25 billion. The drop was especially severe in the U.S. for Pfizer's main vaccine, Prevnar 13, due to the "unfavorable impact of disruptions to wellness visits," the company said.
  • Sanofi said its vaccine sales slumped 7% to €927 million because of the "global confinements."
  • Merck will report its second-quarter results on Friday. Wall Street expects Merck's vaccine sales dropped 26% year over year.

Yes, but: The major vaccine manufacturers said uptake was rising a lot in Europe and developing countries.

  • But global sales dragged because of the shutdowns in the U.S., where drug companies charge the highest prices in the world.

Go deeper: The pandemic has put a lot of children behind the curve on routine vaccinations

Go deeper