Global Pharmaceutical Industry - Statistics & Facts

Global Pharmaceutical Industry - Statistics & Facts

Statistics and facts about the pharmaceutical industry worldwide

The pharmaceutical industry is responsible for the development, production and marketing of medications. Thus, its immense importance as a global sector is inarguable. Total pharmaceutical revenues worldwide had reached over one trillion U.S. dollars in 2014, with North America responsible for the largest portion of these revenues, due to the leading role of the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. However, as in many other industries, the Chinese pharmaceutical sector has shown the highest growth rates over previous years.

Still, the leading pharmaceutical companies come from the United States and Europe. Based on prescription sales, NYC-based Pfizer is the world’s second largest pharmaceutical company. In 2015, the company generated some 43 billion U.S. dollars in pure pharmaceutical sales, while total revenue stood at nearly 49 billion U.S. dollars. Other top global players from the United States include Johnson & Johnson, Merck and AbbVie. Novartis and Roche from Switzerland, GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca from the United Kingdom, and French Sanofi are the European big five.

Branded, patented medicines by far make up the largest share of pharmaceutical revenues. Humira, an anti-inflammatory drug, generated nearly 15 billion U.S. dollars of revenue worldwide in 2015. Oncologics continue to be the leading therapeutic class based on revenue. In 2015, cancer drugs made almost 79 billion U.S. dollars of revenue globally. Other major therapy classes were pain drugs, antihypertensives and antidiabetics.

More than any other industry, the pharmaceutical sector is highly dependent on its research and development segment. Pharmaceutical companies invest 20 percent and more of their revenues in R&D measures. The United States is a traditional stronghold of pharmaceutical innovation. The origin of most new substances introduced to the market can be traced back to the United States. Because of the steady loss of patent protection, the invention of new drugs is of vital importance for the pharmaceutical industry. Revenue losses due to patent expiry often are very significant, as can be seen with Pfizer’s Lipitor.

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