Business for the pharmaceutical giants was booming even before the corona crisis. At the 21 largest corporations in the industry, sales, operating profit and spending on research and development grew in 2019, as an analysis by the auditing and consulting company EY has shown. During the pandemic, the pharmaceutical companies would demonstrate their innovative strength and flexibility.
Pharma is booming
According to EY, 242 therapeutics and 161 vaccines against Covid-19 were in development by the beginning of June 2020. But that is no guarantee of success. “We estimate that 97 percent of the vaccines currently being tested will not see the light of day. In the end, three to four drugs remain among the therapeutic agents that are used, ”said EY expert Alexander Nuyken.
In 2019, according to the analysis, the top pharmaceutical companies continued to focus on active ingredients for cancer therapy. This is where they generated the greatest sales, namely 174 billion euros (plus 20 percent). “With infectious diseases, on the other hand, they achieved sales of just‘ 46 billion euros – an increase of 5.1 percent compared to the previous year, “said EY.
These are the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
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# 10 Bristol-Myers Squibb
The US company Bristol-Myers Squibb ranks tenth on the list of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. According to EY, sales in the pharmaceutical business amounted to the equivalent of 23.4 billion euros in 2019. In 2018 the value was 19.1 billion euros.
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# 9 Sanofi
The French pharmaceutical company Sanofi was also able to increase its sales in 2019. According to EY, sales with pharmaceutical products alone increased from EUR 23.7 billion to EUR 25.7 billion.
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# 8 Takeda Pharmaceutical
Takeda Pharmaceutical is Asia’s largest pharmaceutical company. According to EY, the Japanese company improved its pharmaceutical sales by around two thirds within one year. It rose from 15.6 to 25.8 billion euros.
@imago images / Belga
# 7 GlaxoSmithKline
GlaxoSmithKline only grew slightly in 2019. The British group increased its pharmaceutical sales from 26.2 to 28.2 billion euros, as EY announced.
@imago images / Jörg Halisch
# 6 Abbvie
The US company Abbvie’s pharmaceutical sales climbed from 27.8 to 29.7 billion euros. That meant sixth place on the EY list of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
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# 5 Novartis
The Swiss company Novartis had a turnover of 29.6 billion euros with its pharmaceuticals division in 2018. In 2019, according to EY, revenues rose to EUR 33.7 billion.
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# 4 Merck & Co.
The US group Merck & Co. was able to increase its sales significantly in 2019. According to the EY analysis, pharmaceutical sales increased from 31.9 to 37.3 billion euros.
@imago images / Rene Traut
# 3 Johnson & Johnson
Pharma is only part of Johnson & Johnson’s business. The group also includes drugstore brands such as Neutrogena, Penaten and o.b. The company from the US state of New Jersey had sales of 37.7 billion euros in the pharmaceutical sector in 2019 (2018: 34.5 billion euros), as EY reported. This put Johnson & Johnson in third place by a considerable margin.
@imago images / Xinhua
# 2 Pfizer
Pfizer is the largest pharmaceutical company in the United States. According to EY, pharmaceutical sales rose slightly in 2019 from 42.3 to 44.4 billion euros. Pfizer hit the headlines at the end of July with a billion dollar contract from the US government. The group is to deliver hundreds of millions of doses of a possible vaccine against the coronavirus with the German company Biontech.
# 1 Roche
Roche increased its pharmaceutical sales significantly in 2019 from 40.3 to 45.6 billion euros. According to EY, the Swiss group passed US competitor Pfizer.