Novartis' top drugs based on revenue 2019

Multiple sclerosis drug Gilenya was Novartis’ second best-selling pharmaceutical during 2019, with a total revenue of 3.22 billion U.S. dollars worldwide. For several years, cancer drug Gleevec (glivec) was the company’s blockbuster drug, until it went generic in 2016 facing a significant sales decrease. However, Novartis is one of the big pharma companies with the lowest share of its top 3 products related to total sales. This broadly-based revenue makes it less vulnerable to revenue losses through patent expirations.

A view on the company

Novartis is based in Basel, Switzerland, and is the world’s second largest pharmaceutical company based on prescription drug sales. Interestingly, another leading drug manufacturer – Roche – is based also in Basel, making it the only city to be home to two global top 10 pharma companies. Both companies are deeply involved in the research, development, and manufacturing of cancer treatments. Novartis generates nearly 40 percent of its pharmaceutical revenue from oncologic products, and Roche around 60 percent.

Development of segments and divisions

Through its subsidiary Alcon, Novartis was also the second largest company worldwide in the field of ophthalmology products. However, in April 2019, Alcon’s spin-off from Novartis was completed, making it a wholly independent company. With Sandoz, Novartis has also a strong generic drug division. Sandoz makes around 10 billion U.S. dollars of revenue annually. Until 2014-2015, Novartis also had three other divisions which have since been sold: consumer health products, vaccines and diagnostics, and animal health. Thus, the company’s development shows a clear focus on human medicine and pharmaceuticals.

Novartis AG's top 10 drugs based on revenue in 2019

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Release date

January 2020



Survey time period


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