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Top 10 global pharmaceutical companies by revenue 2019

Like in the years before, Pfizer was again among the world’s largest three pharmaceutical companies in 2019, based on pharmaceutical-only sales. Pfizer generated around 44 billion U.S. dollars through sales of prescribed and over-the-counter drugs. In many top pharmaceutical companies’ rankings Johnson & Johnson is listed as the biggest pharmaceutical company. Albeit, these rankings take into account J&J’s total revenue which consists to a large extent of non-pharmaceutical sales from its medical device and consumer health segments.

A global view on the industry

The total global pharmaceutical market reached some 1.2 trillion U.S. dollars in 2018. North America remains the strongest regional market worldwide, responsible for nearly half of the global market size. The largest national pharmaceutical market is the United States with some 450 billion U.S. dollars in medicine spending. Thus, five of the ten largest pharmaceutical companies worldwide were from the United States in 2019. One reason for this is that the U.S. is still the world’s largest hub for life sciences and medical research and knowledge.

The importance of innovation

Pharmaceutical companies are to a very large part – more than in most other industries – driven by the imperative to produce innovative products and to invest in research and development. Once a new drug, for example, is launched, the clock is already ticking towards the loss of patent protection. In particular, companies that depend on a small number of blockbuster drugs, are under threat of heavy revenue loss. Two effects of patent expirations for the pharma industry are high R&D concentration and a growing focus on specialty drugs.

Leading 10 pharmaceutical companies worldwide by revenue in 2019 (in billion U.S. dollars)*

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Sources

Release date

March 2020

Region

Worldwide

Survey time period

2019

Supplementary notes

* Including Rx and OTC sales.

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