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The World's Biggest Players in Pharma


This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Katharina Buchholz


In June, the Pharmaceutical Executive published its latest annual ranking of the top 50 biopharma companies according to prescription drug sales in 2020. Once again, Roche led the ranking with $47.5 billion in annual sales spurred by its top sellers, cancer medication Avastin and MS drug Ocrevus. Sales of newly launched drugs Tecentriq, Perjeta and Kadcyla for cancer and Hemlibra for hemophilia also bolstered Roche's sales, according to the Pharmaceutical Exec.


Roche topped the ranking for the second year in a row, toppling previous front-runner Pfizer, which could rebound in 2021 due to its prominent role in the market for newly created COVID-19 vaccines. The company that led the ranking between 2015 and 2018 only came eighth, but ranked fifth for R&D spend.


Roche also increased its market cap in 2020 due to its presence in coronavirus diagnostic testing. The fastest riser in the top 10 of Rx sales and in regards to market cap, Illinois-based AbbVie, did not sell COVID-19 related products, however.


Another Swiss company, Novartis, was listed second in prescription sales, with MS medication Gilenya and heart failure drug Entresto among its top sellers. Johnson & Johnson, also a developer of a successful coronavirus vaccine, came second for R&D spent.


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