Pfizer for Profit?

I can see an interesting dilemma arising from the vaccine providers – and other service providers.

Pfizer have just announced that the sales from their vaccine are likely to be $15 billion this year which is about a quarter of their entire business, AND they expect this will drive their profit into the high 20%s. This is interesting as it confirms they are selling the vaccine at a profit when AstraZeneca have been very clear that their vaccine will be sold at cost only.

This an interesting dilemma – do you take a profit from a pandemic or do you behave for the greater good of humanity?

I personally agree with the AstraZenca stance, although it’s a shame that this will affect their financials and their share price may suffer when analysed and compared to other pharmaceuticals such as Pfizer. But they are still doing the right thing!

In a similar vein I see that the Finance Conduct Authority have asked banks to reconsider branch closures during the lockdown and to keep them open to provide local service. Again branch closures are a financial decision based on efficiencies and profitability and are not based on providing a localised social service. And of course the banks when asked confirmed that they will go ahead with planned closures anyway – so no heart warming story there then!

But it does lead me to ask is profit the only criteria and of course it can’t be. As a property investor I know many of my tenants and their family circumstances. I appreciate them and we often swap Christmas presents. I want them to be happy and content and repairs are done immediately. I want to treat them as I would like to be treated if I were a tenant, and that’s with respect and courtesy. Now that doesn’t cost me anything but it does create tenant loyalty and creates a better business for me as my tenants ‘like’ me and don’t want to let me down and as a consequence I very rarely have arrears and I work with them to find solutions if there is a financial issue. It would be very sad if all businesses, pharmaceutical companies, banks or investors acted only for profit.

We must never forget that the customer is a human and that even a simple financial transaction has a myriad of other issues connected to it and I think that makes for a better, more rounded and attractive business.

At Fielding Financial, we teach people how to invest in property ethically – take a look at our online courses for more information on how to get started.

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