10 Top Pharma Companies by Revenue

- August 28th, 2019

We break down the top pharma companies by revenue in 2018, according to information from research firm GlobalData.

The pharmaceutical industry is the cornerstone of development, marketing and commercialization for drug treatments and medications for the patient population. 

According to data from Statista, revenue in the pharma sector topped US$1 trillion for the first time in 2014, and has steadily increased since then to reach US$1.2 trillion in 2018. It also reported that North America serves as the largest segment of this growth thanks to the US’ behemoth pharmaceutical industry.

In terms of prescription drugs alone, Evaluate Pharma estimates global drug sales will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.9 percent to reach US$1.18 trillion by 2024, which is a significant bump up from the 1.7 percent CAGR from 2011 to 2018.


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So, who are the companies responsible for the most growth and innovation in the space? Research from GlobalData has pinned down the top companies in terms of revenue by analyzing year-over-year changes and overall CAGR, operating profit and net profit of the top publicly traded pharmaceutical companies over the last five years. The firm chose the companies based on revenue and level of product innovation.

Out of the 20 companies analyzed, 16 are publicly traded. Here, the Investing News Network (INN) breaks down the 10 top publicly traded pharma companies by revenue listed in accordance to GlobalData’s findings.

1. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)

2018 revenue: US$81.6 billion

It should come as no surprise that pharmaceutical behemoth Johnson & Johnson tops the list. Johnson & Johnson is a holding company actively involved in research and development (R&D), manufacturing and sales of products in categories such as consumer, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

Under the consumer market umbrella are products for baby care, oral care, skin care and women’s health. In terms of pharmaceuticals, the company is focused on five major therapeutic areas: immunology, infectious diseases and vaccines, neuroscience, oncology and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. They also manufacture over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.

Worldwide sales for Johnson & Johnson increased by 6.7 percent from 2017 to 2018.

2. Roche Holding (F-Hoffmann La Roche) (OTCQX:RHHBY,SWX:ROG)

2018 revenue: US$58.1 billion

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, F. Hoffmann-La Roche operates two key divisions: pharmaceuticals and diagnostics.

The Roche Diagnostics division is made up of five key business areas: Roche Applied Science, Roche Professional Diagnostics, Roche Diabetes Care, Roche Molecular Diagnostics and Roche Tissue Diagnostics. In terms of diseases Roche targets in its pharmaceutical division, it is focused on oncology, neuroscience, infectious diseases, immunology, haematology, haemophilia, ophthalmology and pulmonology.

Similar to Johnson & Johnson, revenue for Roche Holding grew 6.7 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.

3. Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)

2018 revenue: US$53.6 billion

Pfizer is a world-renowned research pharmaceutical company developing drugs in a wide range of areas, including: oncology, inflammation and immunology, vaccines, internal medicine and rare diseases.

As of July 2019, the company had a total of 101 key programs. Out of those, 35 are in a Phase 1 clinical trial, 34 are in Phase 2, 23 are in a Phase 3 trial and nine have reached registration.

Year-over-year, Pfizer’s revenue grew by 2.1 percent from 2017.

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2018 revenue: US$53.2 billion

Similarly to Roche Holding, Novartis is also based in Basel, Switzerland. The company is focused on a wide range of disease areas including oncology, immunology and ophthalmology. Novartis is also developing a cell and gene therapy technology platform that includes adeno-associated virus-based therapies, CAR-T cell therapies and technologies based on CRISPR.

Revenue for Novartis in 2018 increased by 6 percent year-over-year from 2017.

5. Bayer (OTC Pink:BAYRY, ETR:BAYN)

2018 revenue: US$46.7 billion

Headquartered in Germany, Bayer has a broad portfolio of products. In terms of pharmaceuticals, Bayer is focused on prescription products for cardiology and women’s care; therapeutics for oncology, hematology and ophthalmology; and radiology.

Bayer has a wide range of consumer health products in many different sectors. including ones in dermatology, nutritionals, analgesics, digestive, allergy, coughs and colds, foot care, sun care and cardiovascular prevention.

The company’s revenue increased by an impressive 13 percent year-over-year compared to its 2017 revenue.

6. Merck (NYSE:MRK)

2018 revenue: US$42.3 billion

Merck is another global company. Its product line includes therapies for diabetes, cancer, vaccines and hospital care. Some of the conditions the company aims to treat range from cancer, HIV, HPV, hepatitis C and cardio-metabolic disease to antibiotic-resistant infections and Alzheimer’s disease. Merck is also aiming to tackle the Ebola pandemic.

Year-over-year, Merck’s revenue for 2018 increased 5.4 percent.

7. Sanofi (OTC Pink:SNYNF, EPA:SAN)

2018 revenue: US$42.1 billion

Based in France, Sanofi develops products in areas such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, oncology, immunology, multiple sclerosis, rare diseases, rare blood disorders and vaccines. Sanofi is the world’s largest producer of vaccines thanks to its subsidiary Sanofi Pasteur.

In 2018, revenue for Sanofi dipped 1.5 percent year-over-year from 2017.

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8. GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK,LON:GSK)

2018 revenue: US$41.1 billion

GlaxoSmithKline has two main business divisions: pharmaceuticals and consumer healthcare. Its pharmaceutical products include products for diseases such as asthma, cancer, infections, diabetes and mental health. In terms of consumer healthcare products, GlaxoSmithKline’s line includes products for oral healthcare, cold sores, nasal strips and nicotine patches.

Revenue for GlaxoSmithKline in 2018 was up 2.1 percent year-over-year.

9. AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV)

2018 revenue: US$32.8 billion

AbbVie is a research-driven biopharmaceutical company and develops products for chronic autoimmune diseases, neurological diseases and metabolic diseases, as well as diseases in the fields of gastroenterology, dermatology and oncology.

The company’s product Humira treats rheumatoid arthritis, chronic plaque psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis and non-infectious uveitis. Humira was the top selling drug in both 2017 and 2018, bringing in US$18.4 billion and US$19.9 billion respectively.

Overall, AbbVie’s revenue in 2018 increased by 16.1 percent year-over-year.

10. Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY)

2018 revenue: US$24.6 billion

Last on this list is Eli Lilly & Co., a company that develops products for human and animal health.

In terms of its human pharmaceutical products, these include therapies for disorders in endocrinology, neuroscience, oncology, immunology and cardiovascular.

Founded in 1876, the company has headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana, and has grown to employ roughly 33,000 people worldwide. It has R&D facilities and manufacturing plans in eight countries and has done clinical research in over 50 countries.

Year-over-year, Eli Lilly & Co.’s revenue increased by 7.4 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_LifeScience for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.


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