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Pharma giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has dropped all future sales forecasting for its COVID-19 vaccine, as sales dry up due to reputational damage suffered by both the shot itself and the company as a whole.
The move shaves $1 billion off of the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based, company’s overall sales projections for the years, a setback for the world’s largest pharmaceutical company.
Initial projections had the vaccine bringing in $3.5 billion in revenue this year – a 46 percent jump over 2021 – but demand for the shots has remained low as its main rivals – Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca, eat up much of the market.
It comes as yet another setback for the company, which has faced thousands of lawsuits in recent years over its talc-based baby powder, and recently paid out a settlement of nearly $100 million to the state of West Virginia over its alleged role in the opioid crisis.
Johnson and Johnson’s Covid vaccine was the third approved for use in the U.S., but its roll out was slow amid concerns over blood clots. It was not recommended for the booster roll out
Although more than 65 per cent of Americans are now vaccinated, just three per cent of them have received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Countries are looking to donate their doses to other nations
Chief financial officer Joe Wolk said they were no longer publishing sales statistics on their vaccine because it was unusual to focus on a particular product.
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine was once hoped to be the main way to get the developing world inoculated against the virus.
But it was derided by a torrent of bad headlines over rare blood clot cases that led to it being paused only weekend after it received authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
At the end of 2021, a study emerged suggesting it triggered no antibodies against the Omicron variant, effectively making it useless.
Demand for the jab has plummeted in developing countries over some of these concerns, and its lack of use as a booster in first world countries has left it with little remaining market.
Pharma giant J&J pays out $99 million over allegations it worsened the opioid crisis
Embattled big pharma company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) paid out another large settlement this week, this time shelling out nearly $100 million to settle a West Virginia lawsuit over the firm’s role in the opioid epidemic.
The payout allows the company to avoid a larger suit filed by state officials against pharmaceuticals companies it alleges played a role in the Mountain State’s drug overdose crisis – which is by far the worst in the nation.
J&J is alleged to have over-marketed opioid drugs in the state – allegations that follow it and many others around the country – and pushing doctors to over-prescribe the highly addictive drug.
This settlement is just a small part of the turmoil the company is currently facing, with it facing nearly 40,000 lawsuits for selling baby powder products with cancer-causing chemicals and allegations that it paid doctors to perform human experiments on prisoners in past decades emerging in recent years.
Wolk told CNBC the figures were published last year because ‘we understood the Street had an expectation, or at least an excitement, around understanding how vaccine sales might play out’.
In the first three months of this year, the jab brought in $457 million in sales globally.
In the U.S. it earned $75 million, or about a quarter less than at the same time a year ago.
Johnson and Johnson has manufactured its jab on a not for profit basis.
It is the cheapest of the three approved in the U.S. — at $10 per dose.
For comparison, Moderna’s Covid vaccine costs $15 per dose while Pfizer’s is up to $19.50.
But to date, only three percent of inoculations in the U.S. have been from this vaccine.
Both trials and real world data for the Johnson and Johnson jab has shown it is 85 percent effective in preventing severe disease or hospitalization from Covid.
The company stopped manufacturing the vaccine at its main plant in Leiden, the Netherlands, amid a glut of supply.
Countries including the UK have donated their entire supply of this vaccine to developing nations to aid their inoculation drives.
Johnson and Johnson is currently facing almost 40,000 lawsuits related to its baby powder which is suggested to have been laced with asbestos.
Minerals in the talc-based product were pulled from the same mines as those extracting asbestos — which can trigger cancer when inhaled.
The FDA recalled the baby powder in October 2019 after traces of asbestos were found within it.