In 2018, Swiss-based Novartis was the third largest pharmaceutical company worldwide based on revenue from prescription drugs. In 2019, Novartis made some 47 billion U.S. dollars of revenue in total, a significant decrease compared to the previous year, which was mostly due to the spin-off of its eye care division Alcon. The company made some significant restructuring measures since 2015, so that today there are only two major core businesses left.
Novartis is divided into two segments: Pharmaceuticals (now called Innovative Medicines), and Sandoz. The Pharmaceuticals segment is responsible for the largest part of the total revenue – around 38.5 billion U.S. dollars. From a regional point of view, Novartis generates the overwhelming part of its revenue in the United States and in Europe. In 2019, about 18 billion U.S. dollars were generated in Europe and over 16 billion dollars in the United States. Among Novartis’ top products are immunomodulating drug Gilenya and ophthalmic drug Lucentis. It is estimated that Novartis reaches around 800 million people worldwide through its products.
More than nine billion U.S. dollars – almost 19 percent of Novartis’ total revenue – was spent on research and development in 2019. R&D is a major issue for the top pharmaceutical companies because patent expiration can lead to massive revenue losses. Thus, only new medicines with at least a few years of exclusivity can ensure progress and profit. At Novartis, such growth products make up around one third of its total revenues.
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