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Global leading pharma and biotech companies by total revenue in 2017

Johnson & Johnson was ranked as the leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology company based on total revenue in 2017, generating approximately 76.5 billion U.S. dollars. The American multinational corporation made around 19 billion U.S. dollars more than the next ranked company, Swiss healthcare firm Roche.

Top companies cannot rest on their laurels

Despite suffering some setbacks, Johnson & Johnson’s total revenue has steadily increased since 2005. The company’s revenue is divided into three key divisions, with sales from the pharmaceutical segment accounting for the largest share in recent years. Creating groundbreaking treatments is one way for Johnson & Johnson to maintain its position at the top of the rankings, but developing new medicines requires large amounts of money. The company’s expenditure on research and development (R&D) is rising each year and exceeded ten billion U.S. dollars for the first time in 2017.

Pharma and biopharma: what are the differences?

Pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies both produce medicines, but there are differences in the method by which the products are manufactured: traditional pharmaceutical companies develop drugs that are primarily made from synthetic chemical sources, while the medicines manufactured by biopharmaceutical firms are done so using living organisms. Thanks to advances in genetic testing and a greater focus on R&D, many traditional pharmaceutical companies are moving toward therapies processed in the biotechnology industry.

Top 10 global pharmaceutical and biotech companies based on total revenue in 2017

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Release date

March 2018



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

The statistic shows the total revenues of the selected companies which manufacture pharmaceutical products (among other or exclusively).

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