Top 50 pharmaceutical companies Rx sales R&D spend 2018

The top 50 pharmaceutical companies by prescription sales in 2018 - and their research and development (R&D) spending - included big name companies such as Pfizer, Novartis, and Merck &Co. During that year, Pfizer's Rx sales were approximately 45.3 billion dollars. Thus, in that year Pfizer was the largest pharmaceutical company based on pure pharma revenue worldwide. The top pharmaceutical company based on R&D spending at that time was Swiss pharma giant Roche. Roche spent 9.8 billion U.S. dollars on R&D in that year.

Pharmaceutical R&D spending

Research and development in the pharmaceutical industry involves the identification and development of compounds used to make new drugs. The pharmaceutical industry has the largest percentage of spending attributable to R&D among all industries. Research and development spending in the pharmaceutical industry around the world is increasing over time. However, there have been variations in the growth of research and development spending with a significant decline in 2012 and an increase in 2016.

New pharmaceutical products

The goal of R&D is to produce new drugs and compounds. Globally, the U.S. pharmaceutical industry created the largest number of new drugs and compounds between 2013 and 2017, followed by Europe. Among U.S. pharmaceutical companies, there are various levels of success for new drugs depending on the phase of development. The data shows that between phase I and II alone, already over one third of all drugs are failing. Overall, the probability that a new drug makes it from phase I to approval is less than 10 percent.

Top 50 global pharmaceutical companies by prescription sales and R&D spending in 2018

Exclusive Premium statistic

You need a Single Account for unlimited access.

  • Full access to 1m statistics

  • Incl. source references

  • Available to download in PNG, PDF, XLS format

Single Account

only $59 / month *
*Duration: 12 months, billed annually, single license

Access to this and all other statistics on 80,000 topics from

$708 / Year

Show detailed source information?
Register for free
Already a member?
Log in

Release date

July 2019



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

No value means no data available. "0" in fact means larger than 0 and smaller than 0,01.

Open this statistic in...
Statista Accounts: Access All Statistics. Starting from $708 / Year
Basic Account
Get to know the platform

You only have access to basic statistics.
This statistic is not included in your account!

Single Account
Your perfect start with Statista
  • Instant access to 1m statistics
  • Download in XLS, PDF & PNG format
  • Detailed references

$59 / Month *

Corporate Account
Full access

Corporate solution including all features.

* All products require an annual contract.
   Prices do not include sales tax.

Statistics on "Pharmaceutical market worldwide"

Statista Accounts: Access All Statistics. Starting from $708 / Year
Learn more about how Statista can support your business.