09-Jan-2015 - Novumed GmbH

The Top 5 Pharmaceutical Companies Generate Over a Third of Global Revenues by Blockbuster Drugs

Diabetes and arthritis are the top indications, alongside cancer therapy, in 2013

Over a third of global revenues by the 200 most widely sold blockbuster drugs were generated by the largest companies in 2013. Roche, Pfizer, Novartis, Johnson & Johnson und Merck & Co. achieved combined sales of 135 Bn US$ with their blockbuster drugs, making them the pharma companies with the greatest revenues. Whilst Roche, with sales of 34 Bn US$, topped all competitors, Pfizer and Novartis each achieved revenues of 27 Bn US$, followed by Johnson & Johnson and Merck & Co. with sales of 24 Bn US$ and 23 Bn US$, respectively.

Metabolic disorders, neurologic disorders and oncology are the therapeutic areas with the greatest revenues

Therapies for metabolic disorders (Diabetes, dyslipidemia, etc.) generated the best results in 2013 with revenues of 54 Bn US$ by 30 blockbusters. The second largest group by revenue was oncology products, with 25 preparations generating 49 Bn US$. Neurologic disorders (Depression, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc.) came in third place with revenues of 48 Bn US$ by 30 preparations.

Biologics generate record sales

Novumed’s analysis of the 200 most-sold blockbuster drugs shows that Abbvie’s Humira (Adalimumab) generated the greatest revenues, totaling 10.7 Bn US$ in 2013, a 15% increase over 2012. This human antibody, which is used to treat chronic inflammatory diseases, generated almost 60% of AbbVie’s total revenue. This poses a significant risk to AbbVie as Humira’s patent will run out in 2016 in the US and Europe. In second place, Johnson & Johnson’s Remicade (Infliximab), is also a human antibody of the class of TNF-inhibitors. Remicade achieved revenues of 9.7 Bn US$, a 7% increase over 2012. Roche’s MabThera/Rituxan (Rituximab), a chimeric monoclonal antibody used in oncology and to treat inflammatory diseases, generated revenues of 8.6 Bn US$, an increase of 4% since 2012.

Patent expiries cause dramatic revenue fluctuations

Bayer’s anticoagulant, Xarelto (Rivaroxaban), showed record growth of 226% relative to the previous year, to 2.1 Bn US$. Similarly strong growth of 77% and 63% was demonstrated by Johnson & Johnson’s prostate cancer drug Zytiga (Abirateron; Revenue 1.7 Bn US$) and Novartis’ immunosuppressant multiple sclerosis drug Gilenya (Fingolimod; Revenue 1.9 Bn US$).

Patent expiry of Merck’s leukotriene receptor antagonist Singulair (Montelukast), which is used to treat asthma, caused a 69% decrease in revenue. Revenues of both Lundbeck’s antidepressant Cipralex (Escitalopram) and Novartis‘ Zometa (Zoledronat), which is used to treat tumor-induced hypercalcemia, also diminished by over 50% compared to the previous year due to patent expiry. Surprisingly, however, revenues of the asthma drug Seretide/Adavir (Fluticasonpropionate, Salmeterol) grew by 3% although the US patent expired in 2010 and the European patent expired in 2013. The reason for increasing sales, despite patent expiry, is delayed approval of generics, as bioequivalence studies for steroids in that administration form are particularly difficult. GSK consequently still produces one of the top five drugs by revenue.

Facts, background information, dossiers
  • rituximab
  • Rivaroxaban
  • Xarelto
  • Abirateron
  • Zytiga
  • Gilenya
  • MabThera
  • montelukast
  • Salmeterol
  • Seretide
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