Jim Cramer: How to Approach Drug Stocks During Earnings Season

Katherine Ross

How are drug stocks looking?

Both Pfizer and Merck posted earnings on Tuesday.

Merck (MRK) - Get Report posted first-quarter adjusted earnings that beat analysts’ forecasts as sales of its drugs and vaccines brought in more revenue than expected. The drug company lowered its full-year 2020 forecast as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic shifts demand for its products.

Strong sales of key drugs like its cancer-fighting treatment Keytruda as well as human vaccines helped propel first-quarter earnings, the company said. Even so, “roughly two-thirds of Merck’s pharmaceutical revenue is comprised of physician-administered products, which, despite strong underlying demand, are being impacted by social distancing measures, fewer well visits and delays in elective surgeries due to Covid-19.”

Pfizer (PFE) - Get Report reported stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings and maintained its full-year profit guidance as key branded drugs drove solid gains for the drugmaker's biopharma division.

“We are fully committed to confronting the public health challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic by collaborating with industry partners and academic institutions to develop potential approaches to prevent and treat COVID-19," said CEO Albert Bourla. "Our researchers and scientists also have been exploring potential new uses of existing medicines in Pfizer’s portfolio to help infected patients. We aim to leave no stone unturned as we explore every option to help provide society with treatment or vaccine."

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