15 Largest Drug Companies in the World

In this article we take a look at the 15 largest drug companies in the world. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 5 largest drug companies in the world.

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the worldwide general interest is focused around the largest drug companies in the world. As the world awaits for the pandemic to end, with a permanent solution in place, these companies are naturally under the spotlight. The drug and pharmaceuticals industry has always been an indispensable one, but with infectious diseases on the rise, the importance of the industry is more apparent than ever. 

The largest drug companies have always been in the forefront for the research around diseases like cancer and the recent bouts of viral diseases like Swine Flu, Ebola and of course Covid-19 caused by the novel coronavirus. Most of the companies on our list have been actively involved in treatment and research of Covid-19. The efforts of drug companies towards the development of Covid-19 vaccine has recently led to hopeful news with Pfizer announcing its vaccine candidate to be 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection in Phase 3 clinical trials. Pfizer had partnered with BioNTech SE in its endeavors to develop RNA based COVID-19 vaccine candidate BNT-162b2 which makes them the  first drug-makers with successful data from a large-scale clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine candidate’s Phase 3 clinical trial started in July and has enrolled 43,538 participants out of whom 38,955 had already received a second dose by November. 

Most of the top drug companies have launched their independent research or are partnering with other organizations for the development of Covid 19 vaccines and are at different stages of success currently. This marks a time of change in the pharmaceutical industry which has typically predominated by severe competition. With the pressure building on pharma giants, competitors are turning into collaborators and sharing not only expertise but also libraries of proven research and infrastructure. For instance, Sanofi has been working alongside Translate Bio, sharing its vaccine expertise combined with Translate’s mRNA platform to develop several vaccine candidates against COVID-19. Other companies are collaborating with government bodies or organizations, to accelerate their research. Johnson & Johnson is collaborating with Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to develop a vaccine candidate while GlaxoSmithKline announced in February that it will work with  the University of Queensland in Australia and provide access to its vaccine adjuvant platform. GSK is also recently partnering with Xiamen Innovax Biotech Co.

Beyond their contribution in R&D for the Covid vaccines, pharmaceutical companies have also come forward with outreach programs in these abysmal times. Drug companies have taken the lead in provision of  monetary donations to various organizations working towards the cause of alleviating the effects of COVID-19 on communities. These donations have been in the form of food contributions, or direct supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). Novartis has launched several programs towards this effect. Th Novartis US Foundation, focusing specifically on the US, announced a  $5 million relief fund for COVID-19 in April. Also the company’s Swiss headquarters announced a $20 million fund in lieu of Covid-19 outreach and is responding to requests from across the world. 

Financially, as all the sectors have faced difficulties  during the Covid-19 pandemic, the pharmaceutical sector has also been hit hard. As drug companies operated under heavy strain in the vaccine race, some innovative companies have taken the lead and perked up their performance even during the adverse times. Some of the largest drug companies in the world saw a rise in their Q2 market capitalizations. Johnson & Johnson took the lead and saw a growth of 7.2%, quarter-on-quarter. AbbVie saw a market cap growth of  $60 billion, a 53.8% jump in Q2  due to its acquisition of Allergan. With the acquisition, AbbVie looks at diversifying its portfolio and increasing its stake in the varied therapeutic markets, mainly with drugs such as Ubrelvy for migraines as a gateway into neuroscience, and  top-selling drugs such as Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA). 

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Clearly, 2020 has been a year of possibilities and chaos for the entire industry and there have been changes in dynamics to a great extent. As companies have struggled to keep their position, the largest companies have preserved theirs through constant innovation and perseverance. To compile our list of this year’s Largest drug companies in the world, we have ranked each of the biggest industry players according to their 2020 revenues. As some companies like Johnson & Johnson are into allied markets, we have considered their revenue for their pharmaceuticals and drugs segments respectively. 

If you are also interested to find out the biggest players who have maintained position in the current pandemic, here’s our list of the 11 Biggest Insurance Companies In the World to check out. 

As the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests the possible links between climate change and the rise of infectious diseases, chances are this might not be the last epidemic that we are to see. In general, for the past few years the world has experienced a rise in frequency of infectious diseases with viruses like HIV/AIDS, hantavirus, hepatitis C, SARS, etc. on the rise. In a mere gap of years, we have witnessed outbreaks of swine flu, Ebola, and a bunch of other viruses, including the current pandemic situation we are faced with. These might be a result of combined impacts of rapid demographic, environmental, social, and other changes in general human lifestyle that are affecting our surroundings. While the world occupies itself by dealing with the current crisis, it is in fact climate change that might be a bigger threat in the building. With the future possibilities of diseases and infections, the pressure yet again lies on the leading drug companies to be constantly on their toes and innovating new technologies in order to prepare for the uncertainties. Ongoing research and development in the pharmaceuticals sector is key to build resilience in the long run. The top companies with over the edge technologies and R&D capital expenditures are always in the lead for providing critical health solutions, which makes it ever more important to keep a track on them. 

Here’s our list of the largest drug companies in the world. 

15. Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO)

Revenue – $20,261 million

The Danish drug company operates in a total of 8 countries. Majorly involved in Diabetes & Obesity Care, the company is a major supplier of insulin products. The company’s sales increased by 14% in the first quarter of 2020. 

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