Market share of the leading 10 global pharmaceutical markets 2018

The United States was the largest pharmaceutical market in 2018, generating a 40.4 percent share of total revenues worldwide. China established itself as the second-largest market with a sales share of 11.1 percent.

International differences in drug prices

The worldwide pharmaceutical market was valued at approximately 1.2 trillion U.S. dollars in 2018. Sales of pharmaceuticals in the United States generated 484.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, around 350 billion U.S. dollars more than any other country. One reason for the disparity between countries is the price of prescription medications: in the United States, the prices of select top drugs increased significantly between 2009 and 2015. Many pharmaceutical manufacturers argue that list prices need to be raised to not only recoup research costs but also to maintain profit margins because of the larger rebates negotiated by pharmacy benefits managers.

Prescription drug prices are a bitter pill to swallow

With an average spend of 1,220 U.S. dollars per person, the United States had the highest pharmaceutical spending per capita worldwide in 2018. Brand name medications are particularly expensive in the country: the average price of Humira in the United States was far higher than in other global markets in 2017. Branded drugs enjoy the protection of patents, and the lack of competition means both manufacturers and pharmacies can charge what the market will bear.

Market share of top 10 national pharmaceutical markets worldwide in 2018*

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Release date

December 2019


United States

Survey time period


Supplementary notes

* Values are calculated based on IQVIA data. All figures are rounded.
BPI ist the German Federal Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry (Bundesverband der Pharmazeutischen Industrie).

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