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Becca Schimmel
By Becca Schimmel January 7, 2022

No, Pfizer did not report $37 billion in profit for its latest quarter

If Your Time is short

  • Pfizer reported $24.09 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2021, and a net income of $8.15 billion.

  • The company generated $13 billion in global revenue for the quarter from its COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty.

With a sarcastic tribute, a Facebook post accuses COVID-19 vaccine maker Pfizer of generating outsize profits at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer. 

"Pfizer wants to thank… all the taxpayers for a record $37 billion profit last quarter," the Dec. 23 post said. "Special thanks goes out to the 800 lobbyists and all the bought and paid for politicians. Couldn’t have done it without your great cooperation."

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The claim gives an inaccurate figure for Pfizer’s quarterly profit, overstating it by a factor of more than four.

The COVID-19 vaccine has been a big seller for Pfizer, which has shipped billions of doses to the U.S. government and other countries since it was first authorized for emergency use in December 2020. The need for booster shots to combat new variants of the coronavirus has increased demand. 

In the third quarter of 2021, Pfizer reported that its vaccine, Comirnaty, generated $13 billion in global revenue, accounting for more than half the company’s total revenue of $24.09 billion for the quarter. 

For the first nine months of the year, Pfizer said, more than 75% of revenues for Comirnaty came from supplying countries outside the U.S.

The company said in November that it expected full-year revenue for 2021 to be about $81 billion, with $36 billion of that coming from Comirnaty. Pfizer plans to release its fourth-quarter 2021 results Feb. 8.

But the claim in the Facebook post talks about profit, not revenue. Revenue is the total income a company generates through sales. Profit is the amount of money left over after operating expenses, debt service and other costs. 

Pfizer’s third-quarter net income was $8.15 billion, about five times the year-earlier figure, but less than a quarter of what the claim says.

Our ruling 

A Facebook post claims Pfizer made $37 billion in profit in the latest quarter.

That’s inaccurate. The company generated $24.09 billion in revenue in the third quarter, more than half of that coming from its COVID-19 vaccine. 

Its profit for the quarter was $8.15 billion. 

We rate this claim False. 

 

Our Sources

Facebook post, Dec. 23, 2021

Pfizer, "PFIZER REPORTS THIRD-QUARTER 2021 RESULTS," Nov. 2, 2021

Forbes, "Pfizer Expects $33.5 Billion In Vaccine Revenue In 2021," July 28, 2021

New York Times, "Pfizer’s Covid vaccine could break sales records again next year," Nov. 2, 2021

Pfizer, "Third Quarter 2021 Earnings Teleconference," Nov. 2, 2021

Pfizer, "Financials Quarterly Results," last accessed Jan. 6, 2021

Investopedia, "Revenue vs. Profit: What's the Difference?," Aug. 27, 2021


Pfizer, "PFIZER REPORTS THIRD-QUARTER 2021 RESULTS," last accessed Jan. 6, 2021

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No, Pfizer did not report $37 billion in profit for its latest quarter

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