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3M expects to sell fewer Covid-19 masks this year

After seeing sales of medical masks soar during the Covid-19 pandemic, US manufacturer 3M warned Monday that demand is expected to slow sharply this year.

The warning echoes that of other companies like vaccine-maker Pfizer and the CVS drugstore chain that have said pandemic-related sales are likely to soften.

After Covid-19 broke out in 2020, 3M, a conglomerate that makes a wide range of products from Post-it notes to air filters, quickly ramped up output of face masks, which became ubiquitous.

But in its quarterly earnings report Monday, 3M forecast a “decline in Covid-related respirator demand” which it said will weigh on overall sales growth and also dampen earnings.


3M is the latest company to forecast fewer mask sales in 2022 Photo: AFP / Angela Weiss

Honeywell in early February said it sold fewer masks in the fourth quarter compared to the same period in 2020, and sees the slowdown continuing this year, hitting the company’s overall sales.

Pfizer, whose vaccine developed with German company BioNTech was the first approved in the United States to counter the deadly virus, warned last week that sales of the jabs would slow in 2022.

But the US pharmaceutical group expects to see sales of its Covid-19 treatment pill to jump to at least $22 billion.

Meanwhile, CVS, which conducted 32 million Covid tests and administered more than 59 million vaccines in 2021, said last week it is expecting vaccinations to drop by 70 to 80 percent and testing to fall by as much as 50 percent.

CVS Chief financial officer Shawn Guertin told analysts the chain should see a “modest” uptick in sales of over-the-counter test kits.

© Copyright AFP 2022. All rights reserved.

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