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Sovaldi pushes Gilead to the top of US pharma list

Blockbuster hep c pill sees the firm go from fourteenth to first in just one year

Gilead HQ 

The runaway success of its hepatitis C pill has seen Gilead overtake Pfizer as the biggest pharma firm in the US when it comes to drug sales.

Sovaldi, which made more than $10bn in sales in its first full year in 2014, has pushed it to the top of the rankings with a 175% growth on 2013.

Meanwhile, Pfizer has now slipped to third place - after being top for the past decade - as sales in the US dropped 7%. This was due predominately from the ongoing generic competition to its once $13bn a year statin Lipitor (atorvastatin), which recorded just $2.8bn in sales last year.

Johnson & Johnson has also made a major leap into second place after being fifth last year as drug revenue grew by an impressive 25% on the year before period to reach more than $17bn.

The firm's drugs unit Janssen was bolstered by an array of new and diverse products, including its new hep C drug Olysio (simeprevir) and prostate cancer pill Zytiga (abiraterone acetate), as well as the type 2 diabetes drug Invokana (canagliflozin) and blood cancer treatment Imbruvica (ibrutinib).

But not all firms fared so well with US native Lilly seeing the biggest slide. Its sales fell a disappointing 33% to $7.8bn in 2014 as patent expiries for major drugs took a bite out of its revenue stream.

One of the biggest hits was its mental health drug Zyprexa (olanzapine), which was bringing in $2.5bn in US sales at its peak.

GlaxoSmithKline has suffered a similar hit as it recorded a 22% fall in sales last year, leaving it twelfth on this list - a major drop from its seventh position in 2013.

This was almost entirely down to a major drop in sales from its once $8bn a year respiratory drug Advair, which is succumbing to increased competition in the US as pricing wars heat up.

The London-based firm has also failed to increase market share for its next-gen versions of Advair - namely Breo, Ellipta and Anoro Ellipta - which had combined sales last year of a deeply unimpressive $50m.

Finally Bristol-Myers Squibb, also a US native, saw revenue drop 20% to $8.3bn. This is due to the shedding of its diabetes portfolio to partner AstraZeneca last year, meaning it failed to benefit from the sales of these medicines in 2014 as it had done it 2013.

The top 15 pharma firms in 2014 based on drug sales collated by GlobalData can be found here.

Article by
Ben Adams

15th April 2015

From: Sales

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