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Pfizer still number one - just

The PMLiVE Top Pharma List is updated with a ranking of the 25 biggest companies in the industry

Top pharma companiesPfizer retained its spot at the top of the pharma tree in 2013 but its position is starting to look increasingly precarious, according to the latest figures from the PMLiVE Top Pharma List.

The exclusive ranking of the 25 biggest pharma companies is based on prescription drug sales (including generics) figures from GlobalData.

It shows that the US giant's lead over second-placed Novartis, which had been whittled away in 2012 to a couple of hundred million dollars, increased slightly in 2013 but was still miles away from the $5.5bn difference between the two in 2011.

For Pfizer this loomed largest with the $1.6bn it lost from its Lipitor (atorvastatin) franchise last year, along with a further $1.9bn from 24 other brands, including Viagra (sildenafil) and paediatric vaccine Prevnar.

Those declines could not be wholly clawed back by a clutch of new products, including Inlyta (axitinib) and Xalkori (crizotinib) for cancer, and arthritis treatment Xeljanz (tofacitinib).

Meanwhile, Novartis kept the pressure on with solid performances for its own new entrants, including Gilenya (fingolimod) for multiple sclerosis, cancer drugs Afinitor/Votubia (everolimus) and Tasigna (nilotinib) and Galvus (vildagliptin) for diabetes among others. It also benefited from the contribution of its Sandoz generics unit.

Novartis and Pfizer are well out in front - some $8bn-$10bn ahead of the trailing pack - although their lead seems to be reducing.

RankCompany name2013 pharma sales ($m)Growth (%)
1Pfizer47,878-7
2Novartis47,4682
3Roche39,1633
4Merck & Co37,437-8
5Sanofi37,124-6
The full ranking of the top 25 pharma companies can be viewed in PMLiVE's Top Pharma List section

Elsewhere in the top 25 ranking Roche leapfrogged Sanofi and Merck & Co to move from number five to third place, propelled by its performance in oncology, while Johnson & Johnson passed AstraZeneca and AbbVie overtook Teva. But overall Top Pharma List contains almost exactly the same names for 2013 as it did the year before - the only new entrant is Biogen Idec which replaces Mylan, and rankings once again related to the degree of patent exposure and their success in bringing new products to market.

“The exposure of large cap pharmaceutical companies to the success of its established blockbuster therapies and the impact of the patent cliff has driven significant downturns among pharma's elite,” commented Joshua Owide, GlobalData's director of healthcare industry dynamics.  All told, prescription pharmaceutical sales for the top five companies collectively declined by almost $7bn in 2013, despite moderate gains from Roche and Novartis.

“While companies lower down the rankings themselves too have significant exposure to the effects of generic erosion, they can protect against such events more visibly through new drug launches and mergers & acquisitions,” Owide pointed out.

The overall picture is one of mixed fortunes for the top 25 companies, with nine showing shrinking pharma sales in 2013, one staying the same and another 12 managing single digit growth, among them Boehringer Ingelheim and Amgen. Meanwhile, only J&J, Gilead and Biogen Idec managed double-digit growth last year.

See the full list of the top 25 pharma companies

Article by
Phil Taylor

12th March 2014

From: Sales

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