Johnson & Johnson is suspending sales forecasts for its COVID-19 vaccine only a few months after saying the shot could bring in as much as $3.5 billion this year.
Shares of the health care giant slid in early trading Tuesday after it also reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings and hiked its dividend but chopped an earnings forecast it had debuted in January.
The health care giant said Tuesday that a global supply surplus and demand uncertainty prompted the change in its vaccine outlook.
J&J’s one-shot vaccine brought in $457 million in global sales during the first quarter, with most of that coming from outside the United States. The vaccine registered only $75 million in sales in the U.S., or about 25% less than what it rang up after debuting in last year’s first quarter.
J&J has said it doesn’t intend to profit from the vaccine. But it said in January that the shot could bring in between $3 billion and $3.5 billion in sales this year, as countries continue to fight variants of the virus.
The vaccine notched $2.38 billion in sales last year, when people initially rushed to get protection from the coronavirus after the shots hit the market.
Demand for initial vaccine doses and booster shots has since slowed. More than 82% of the U.S. population age 5 and older has already received at least one vaccination dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Options from rival drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna also have been much more commonly used so far in the United States.
The CDC says nearly 17 million people have become fully vaccinated in the United States with J&J’s single-dose option. That compares to more than 125 million and 76 million who have received two-dose vaccinations from Pfizer and Moderna, respectively.
U.S. regulators also have said that most Americans should receive the Pfizer or Moderna shots instead of J&J’s version due to a rare blood clotting problem tied to the shot.
Vaccine sales are a small part of the total revenue picture for Johnson & Johnson, which also sells medical devices, consumer health products like Band Aids and a range of pharmaceuticals, including the cancer treatment Darzalex.
Overall, the company posted adjusted earnings of $2.67 per share in the first quarter, as total revenue grew 5% to $23.4 billion.
Analysts expected, on average, earnings of $2.58 per share on $23.62 billion in revenue.
J&J said Tuesday that it now expects 2022 adjusted earnings of $10.15 to $10.35 per share. The company had previously forecasted earnings of between $10.40 and $10.60 per share.
Wall Street expects, on average, earnings of $10.55 per share.
Separately, the company said Tuesday that it was raising the quarterly dividend it pays shareholders by 7 cents to $1.13 per share. That will hike the annual payout to $4.52 per share from $4.24.
Shares of New Brunswick, New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson, which is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, slipped less than 1% to $176.49 before markets opened Tuesday.
By Tom Murphy, AP Health Writer