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Top 10 Largest Pharmaceutical Companies By Revenue in 2017

The top 10 largest pharmaceutical companies by revenue in 2017 are leading companies that have a large geographical presence, loyal customer base and technologically advanced manufacturing and R&D facilities. Though their businesses are recession-proof, a huge portion of their expenses has to be allocated to research and development to stay ahead of the competition.

Medicine has made great progress over the last century, with the average life expectancy of people worldwide doubling over that time. Today the medical industry has unveiled many innovative treatments for serious diseases. Thanks to systematic vaccinations, we are close to eradicating polio, and reducing the death rate caused by awful diseases like sleeping sickness, dengue and many other such dreadful sicknesses which infect millions of people each year.

Though huge advancements have been made in this regard, a third of the world’s population still has no access to healthcare. The Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asian regions still lack clean drinking water, proper sanitation systems and are at risk of food shortages. This section of the global population is the most prone to diseases and healthcare still remains beyond their means.



It is true that the era is experiencing an unprecedented change in healthcare. But still, a lot more needs to be done. Well-trained staff, healthcare equipment, and basic medicines are still lacking in many parts of the world. New technologies, services and ideas are needed to deliver better results for businesses and patients. The top 10 largest pharmaceutical companies by revenue in 2017 are at the forefront of that transformation. They are also aiming towards the greater integration of diagnosis and treatment being done through the use of digital technologies and applications.

These large pharmaceutical companies have been in the industry over several decades and some even for a century, and therefore have built a strong competitive moat around their businesses. It is very difficult for any new entrant to build a level of trust with new medical brands. It takes years of R&D, long gestation times and huge sums of money to establish a foothold in the industry. Other strong entry barriers are ownership of intellectual property rights and strict regulatory compliance. These companies also benefit as drug demand is immune to the vagaries of economic cycles. All these competitive advantages allow these pharmaceutical companies to make monopolistic profits for any new product for long periods of times.

The healthcare sector has a bright future both in developed and developing countries. A fast-growing aging population in Japan, the U.S, and Europe is the major demand driver in developed nations, while improving affordability in developing nations like India should increase demand for medicinal products.

Below is a list of the top 10 largest pharmaceutical companies by revenue in 2017 based on their reported revenue, as reported by Forbes. The list is arranged in order of increasing revenue using the latest annual revenue reported by the companies. Four of these companies are headquartered in the United States.

Head on to the next page to begin the list!

For further pharmaceutical-related reading, you might want to take a look at the 11 Largest Pharmaceutical Companies In The World.

10. Allergan plc (NYSE:AGN)

Annual Revenue: $14.57 billion

Allergan plc (NYSE:AGN) is a global specialty pharmaceutical company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. The company engages in the development, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of branded pharmaceutical products, medical aesthetics, biosimilars, and OTC pharmaceutical products. Allergan plc (NYSE:AGN) is focusing on a new industry model Growth Pharma, and Open Science R&D model. It has commercial operations in nearly 100 countries, employing over 18,000 people.

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9. AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN)

Annual Revenue: $23 billion

AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company. The company operates a broad R&D platform across oncology, respiratory and cardiovascular & metabolic diseases. AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) has a global commercial presence, with strength in emerging markets. Some of its products are global leaders in the segments they serve, for example, its drug Lynparza for DNA damage response.

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8. AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV)

Annual Revenue: $25.64 billion

AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV) is a research-driven biopharmaceutical company that was spun off from Abbott Laboratories in 2013. The company focuses on therapeutic areas like immunology, oncology, virology, neurology, and general medicine and is the current market leader in the rheumatoid arthritis segment. With more than 125 years of experience, AbbVie has successfully built a strong brand recall. AbbVie has over 20 research and manufacturing centers in more than 170 countries and its products are used by more than 30 million patients on an annual basis. The U.S is AbbVie’s largest market, accounting for more than 60% of its total revenue.

Nestor Rizhniak/

Nestor Rizhniak/

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7. GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE:GSK)

Annual Revenue: $37.6 billion

GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE:GSK) is a global healthcare company headquartered in London which owns a broad portfolio of well-known medicines in the respiratory and HIV disciplines. GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE:GSK) has a strong worldwide reputation, being trusted by people globally. The company delivers over two million vaccine doses per day to people living in over 160 countries. Some of its medicines are even listed on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medications. GlaxoSmithKline also benefits from a large geographical footprint extending to over 115 countries.

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6. Sanofi SA (ADR) (NYSE:SNY)

Annual Revenue: $37.41 billion

Sanofi SA (ADR) (NYSE:SNY) is a French multinational pharmaceutical company formed as a result of the merger of Aventis and Sanofi-Synthelabo. The company manufactures drugs for areas such as cardiovascular, central nervous system, diabetes, internal medicine, oncology, and thrombosis, and its vaccine division, Sanofi Pasteur, is the world’s largest producer of vaccines. Sanofi SA (ADR) (NYSE:SNY) pioneering efforts included the development of the first vaccine for the dengue virus.

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5. Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Annual Revenue: $39.81 billion

With over $39 billion in revenue, Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) ranks fifth on our list of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies by revenue in 2017. It is a global healthcare company with a 125-year-old history that delivers innovative health solutions. It operates through four segments, which are Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. Merck is the manufacturer of several industry-leading and globally-known medicines, including Januvia in Diabetes and Remicade in Immunology. Headquartered in New Jersey, Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) claims to touch the lives of about 188 million people through its different programs and solutions.

Teva Pharmaceuticals TEVA Drugs

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4. Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS)

Annual Revenue: $49.38 billion

Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS) is a global healthcare company headquartered in Switzerland. The company owns a large global product portfolio and a growing clinical pipeline. Its leading businesses include Oncology, Pharmaceuticals, Sandoz and Alcon. Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS) was formed in 1996 as a result of the merger between Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz. The company, together with its predecessor companies, have a history dating back more than 250 years.



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3. Roche Holding Ltd. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:RHHBY)

Annual Revenue: $51.34 billion

Roche Holding Ltd. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:RHHBY) is a leading biotech firm with 17 biopharmaceuticals on the market. Its business segments include Roche Pharma, Roche Diagnostics, and Disease. The company has a huge geographic footprint employing over 90,000 people who work together across more than 100 countries. Roche Holding Ltd. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:RHHBY) has also been ranked as the most sustainable healthcare company in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for the eighth-consecutive year. The company invests approximately one-fifth of its sales in research and development activities and is amongst the top 10 investors in R&D across industries.

Denis Linine/

Denis Linine/

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2. Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE)

Annual Revenue: $52.82 billion

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) is one of the largest global pharmaceutical companies. It is a research-based, biopharmaceutical company producing a vast variety of biopharmaceutical and biotechnology products for the healthcare sector. The company produces medicines and vaccines for various medical conditions like immunology, oncology, cardiology, endocrinology, and neurology. Emerging markets and biosimilars will continue to deliver strong operational revenue growth for Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) going forward.

Pfizer PFE pharmaceutical stock

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1. McKesson Corporation (NYSE:MCK)

Annual Revenue: $198.53 billion

With more than $198 billion in revenue, McKesson Corporation (NYSE:MCK) tops our list of the top 10 largest pharmaceutical companies by revenue in 2017. McKesson is a global leader in healthcare supply chain management solutions, retail pharmacy, community oncology and specialty care, and healthcare information technology. McKesson Distribution and Technology Solutions are its primary business segments. With more than 180 years of experience, McKesson Corporation (NYSE:MCK) has built an extensive distribution infrastructure, a broad portfolio of products, and a globally recognized brand. Today, McKesson Corporation is one of North America’s largest distributors of healthcare systems, medical supplies, and pharmaceutical products.

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