Global Rx drug market share by top companies 2018 and 2024

Pfizer held 5.5 percent of the world's prescription drug market in 2018 and is predicted to forfeit 1.2 percent of the global market until 2024. The global market for prescribed medicines is expected to be led by Swiss pharma giants Roche and Novartis, together with Pfizer, with almost identical market shares by 2024. In general, the pharmaceutical Rx market is expected to become more balanced with decreasing gaps between the companies.

Prescription and over-the-counter drugs

The total global prescription drug market – including generic and orphan drugs – was estimated at 828 billion U.S. dollars for 2018. Especially the orphan drug market is a major driver and expected to more than double its revenues in only seven years between 2015 and 2023. Prescribed (Rx) drugs are drugs which can be only obtained with a physician’s prescription. In contrast to these, there is the group of so called over-the-counter (OTC) drugs which can be purchased directly without a prescription. Typical examples for OTC drugs are lower-dosed pain killers like aspirin or ibuprofen.

Pfizer as global leader

As of now, New York City-based Pfizer is still the largest pharmaceutical company based on combined prescribed and OTC drug revenue. Today, the company is totally focused on human medicine, divided into two major segments - Innovative Health and Essential Health. Pfizer also had a significant animal health division until 2013. The company generates nearly half of its revenues inside the United States. Pfizer’s perhaps most famous drug ever produced is the potency pill Viagra.

Top 20 pharmaceutical companies worldwide based on prescription drug market share in 2018 and 2024*

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Release date

June 2019



Survey time period

as of May 2019

Supplementary notes

* Market share based on prescription drug revenues. Values for 2024 are projections.

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Statistics on "Pharmaceutical market worldwide"

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