top 10 largest pharma companies

Top 10 Biggest Pharma Companies in the World

Pharmaceutical companies belong to the most powerful businesses in the world. After all, they are developing and making the medicine that cures or treats the many illnesses and disorders millions of people suffer. While there are many pharmaceutical companies out there, it’s the biggest of them, known as Big Pharma, that really make the difference when it comes to researching, developing, and distributing the most important drugs to people all over the world.

The following ranking lists the top ten biggest pharma companies in the world by revenue. All these pharma companies have sales of well over billions of dollars from a variety of different fields of medicine.

Note: The Top 10 pharma companies ranking only counts the revenue a company makes from pharmaceutical sales. Other business branches the company may be involved in, are not looked at here.

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The 10 Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies in the World 2024

10 biggest pharma companies in the world

1. Pfizer

Pfizer Inc.

Pharma revenue: $100.3 billion

Year of Foundation: 1849
Based in:
New York City, New York, USA

Known pharma products/brands:
Comirnaty (vaccine against Covid-19), Paxlovid (for treatment of Covid-19), Ibrance (for breast cancer treatment), Prevnar 13 (vaccine against pneumococcal infections), Lyrica (for epilepsy, neuropathic pain and anxiety treatment), Xeljanz (for rheumatoid arthritis & ulcerative colitis treatment), Diflucan (for treatment of fungal infections), Flagyl (antibiotic), Norvasc (for high blood pressure & coronary artery disease treatment), Zoloft (antidepressant), Eliquis (for prevention of post-surgery thromboembolism)

Pfizer is the by far biggest pharmaceutical company in the world. At the same time, the New York-based American company is also the by far oldest among the major pharma companies in the world, having been founded in 1849 by German-American chemist James Pfizer and his fellow German-American business partner Charles Erhart. Pfizer today is globally known for its leading products that address a wide range of health conditions, including infectious diseases, epilepsy, high blood pressure, breast cancer, post-surgery thromboembolism, and depression. Pfizer is also particularly known as the main manufacturer of the world’s most used vaccine against Covid-19 during the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 to 2023.


2. Merck & Co.

Merck & Co., Inc.

Pharma revenue: $59.3 billion

Year of Foundation: 1917
Based in:
Kenilworth, New Jersey, USA

Known pharma products/brands:
Keytruda (for treatment of various cancer types), Gardasil (vaccine against HPV), ProQuad (vaccine against measles, mumps, Rubella virus & chickenpox), Januvia (for type-2 diabetes treatment), Zetia (for treatment of high blood cholesterol), Isentress (for HIV treatment), Invanz (antibiotic), Mexsana (for treatment of itching & chafing skin)

Merck & Co. is the second-biggest pharma company in the world. Based in New Jersey, the American company was founded in 1917 when it spun off from its former German parent company Merck (which still exists today as Merck Group) but has since grown much larger. Merck & Co. offers a diverse product portfolio and is particularly known for being the world’s largest provider of vaccines for many different infectious diseases. The company also offers various leading drugs for the treatment of numerous types of cancer, type-2 diabetes, HIV, high blood cholesterol, and widely used antibiotics.


3. AbbVie

AbbVie Inc.

Pharma revenue: $58.1 billion

Year of Foundation: 2012
Based in:
North Chicago, Illinois, USA

Known pharma products/brands
: Humira (for rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis & psoriasis treatment), Imbruvica (for blood cancer treatment), Venclexta (for blood cancer treatment), Vraylar (for treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder & depression), Botox (for treatment of spasms & cerebral palsy, prevention of migraines & excessive sweating & cosmetic applications), Mavyret (for Hepatitis C treatment), Skyrizi (for psoriasis treatment)

AbbVie comes third among the biggest pharma companies in the world. It was founded in 2012 when it spun off Abbott Laboratories, a leading manufacturer of medical devices. The American company is now based in North Chicago, Illinois, and has quickly emerged as one of the most innovative and leading pharma companies in the world. The company is particularly well known for its innovative treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and psoriasis. The company furthermore offers leading treatments for blood cancers and several mental disorders. It is also a leading manufacturer of Botox (both for medical and cosmetic uses).


4. Novartis

Novartis AG

Pharma revenue: $54.4 billion

Year of Foundation: 1996 (through the merger of Ciba-Geigy AG and Sandoz GmbH)
Based in:
Basel, Switzerland

Known pharma products/brands:
Entresto (treatment for congestive heart failure), Promacta (treatment for thrombocytopenia), Cosentyx (for psoriasis treatment), Gleevec (for various cancers treatments), Tafinlar (for various cancer treatments), Tasigna (for blood cancer treatment), Lucentis (for macular degeneration treatment), Sandostatin (for acromegaly & gigantism treatment), Gilenya (for treatment of multiple sclerosis), Exelon (for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease), Comtan (for treatment of Parkinson’s disease), Galvus (for type-2 diabetes treatment), Ritalin (for treatment of ADHD)

Novartis is the fourth-biggest pharmaceutical company in the world and the largest one outside the United States. The Basel-based Swiss company was established in 1996 through the merger of Swiss company Ciba-Geigy AG and German company Sandoz GmbH. Novartis is now an industry leader in multiple therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular diseases, treatments for various cancer types, as well as neurological and brain disorders. The company is also known for its wide portfolio and leading treatments for many rather rare diseases.


5. Roche

top 10 largest pharma companies

Roche Holding AG

Pharma revenue: $53.6 billion*

Year of Foundation: 1896
Based in:
Basel, Switzerland

Known pharma products/brands:
Ocrevus (for multiple sclerosis treatment), Perjeta (for breast cancer treatment), Valium (for treatment of anxiety disorders), Xolair (for treatment of severe asthma), Rocephin (antibiotic), Rituxan (for rheumatoid arthritis & blood cancer treatment),  Tarceva (for lung cancer & pancreatic cancer treatment), Herceptin (for breast cancer treatment), Avastin (for treatment of colorectal cancer), Hemlibra (for hemophilia A treatment), Rohypnol (against insomnia), Lariam (for malaria treatment), Aurorix (for treatment of depression & social anxiety), Invirase (for HIV treatment), Valium (for treatment of anxiety disorders)

* Roche is also a leading manufacturer of medical diagnostic devices, but revenue from this branch is not included in the pharma ranking

Roche comes fifth among the biggest pharma companies in the world. It is also a Basel-based Swiss company and it was founded in 1896, making it one of the world’s oldest pharmaceutical companies still in existence. The company is named after its founder, Swiss businessman Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche. Today, Roche is leading in various fields of medicine. Aside from being a pharmaceutical company, Roche is also a leading manufacturer of medical diagnostic devices. Its vast pharmaceutical portfolio includes leading drugs for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, hemophilia A, asthma, and various types of cancer.


6. Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson, Inc.

Pharma revenue: $52.6 billion*

Year of Foundation: 1886
Based in:
New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

Known pharma
products/brands: Darzalex (for treatment of multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer), Imbruvica (for blood cancer treatment), Velcade (for blood cancer treatment ), Zytiga (for prostate cancer treatment), Stelara (for psoriasis treatment), Tremfya (for psoriasis treatment), Remicade (for rheumatoid arthritis treatment), Simponi (for rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis treatment), Xarelto (for prevention of post-surgery thromboembolism), Prezista (for HIV treatment), Janssen Covid-19 (vaccine against Coivd-19), Concerta (for treatment of ADHD), Tylenol (for pain relief and fever, headaches & allergy treatment), Benadryl (for allergy treatment), Zyrtec (for hay fever treatment), Imodium (prevention of frequent diarrhea & for inflammatory bowel disease treatment), Invega (for treatment of schizophrenia)

* Johnson & Johnson is also a leading manufacturer of medical devices, but revenue from this branch is not included in the pharma ranking

Johnson & Johnson follows as the sixth biggest company in the pharma industry. It was founded in 1886 by the three Johnson brothers (Robert, James, and Edward Johnson), placing it, too, among the oldest still active companies involved in pharmaceuticals. Based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the American company is a globally leading manufacturer of medical devices but is also offering a very diverse range of pharmaceutical products. The pharmaceutical branches of Johnson & Johnson are particularly focused on treatments for blood cancers, other types of cancers, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis, among many other fields.


7. Sanofi

Sanofi S.A.

Pharma revenue: $47.1 billion

Year of Foundation: 2004 (through the merger of Sanofi-Synthelabo S.A. & Aventis S.A.)
Based in:
Paris, Ile-de-France, France

Known pharma
products/brands: Dupixent (for allergy & asthma treatment), Lantus (for diabetes treatment and management), Aubagio (for multiple sclerosis treatment), Flublok (vaccine against Influenza/”the Flu”), Fluzone (vaccine against Influenza/”the Flu”), Menactra (vaccine against meningitis), Lovenox (for prevention of post-surgery thromboembolism), Cerezyme (for treatment of Gaucher’s disease), Taxotere (for lung, prostate, and breast cancer treatment), Eloxatin (for colon cancer treatment), Eloctate (for hemophilia A treatment)

Sanofi comes seventh among the biggest pharma companies in the world. The French company was founded in 2004 through the merger of French pharma companies Sanofi-Synthelabo and Aventis. Today, Sanofi is based in Paris and is leading in the development of drugs for the treatment of allergies and asthma and the treatment and management of all types of diabetes. Sanofi is also a globally leading provider of seasonal Influenza (“Flu”) vaccines. The company’s portfolio furthermore includes treatments for various types of cancer, Guahcer’s disease, thromboembolism, and hemophilia A.


8. Bristol Myers Squibb

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

Pharma revenue: $46.2 billion

Year of Foundation: 1989 (through the merger of Bristol-Myers Corporation & Squibb Company)
Based in:
Lawrence Township, New Jersey, USA

Known pharma products/brands:
Opdivo (for treatment of various cancer types), Abraxane (for treatment of various cancer types), Revlimid (for blood cancer treatment), Pomalyst (for treatment of multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer), Yervoy (for skin cancer treatment), Orencia (for rheumatoid arthritis treatment), Reblozyl (for treatment of anemia)

Bristol Myers Squibb is another American pharma company that belongs to the ten biggest on the market. The company was founded in 1989 through the merger of American pharma companies Bristol-Myers and the Squibb Company. It is based in New Jersey and is involved in various fields of medicine. The company is, however, particularly known for its focus and success in the treatment of various types of cancers. Aside from that, it also offers leading drugs for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and anemia.


9. AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca plc

Pharma revenue: $44.4 billion

Year of Foundation: 1999 (through the merger of Astra AB & Zeneca Group plc)
Based in:
Cambridge, England, UK

Known pharma products/brands
: Imfinzi (for treatment of various cancer types), Tagrisso (for lung cancer treatment), Zoladex (for breast cancer & prostate cancer treatment), Lynparza (for breast, ovarian & prostate cancer treatment), Soliris (for treatment of PNH, aHUS, myasthenia gravis & neuromyelitis optica), Symbicort (for asthma & COPD treatment), Nexium (for GERD, peptic ulcer disease & Zollinger–Ellison syndrome treatment), Crestor (for prevention of cardiovascular disease), Farxiga (for diabetes treatment), Toprol XL (for high blood pressure treatment), Evusheld (for treatment of Covid-19), Vaxzevria (vaccine against Covid-19)

AstraZeneca is the ninth-biggest pharma company in the world. The British company was established in 1999 through the merger of the Swedish pharma company Astra and the British pharma company Zeneca Group. Based in Cambridge, England, the company is another leading developer of drugs for the treatment of various types of cancer. It also offers treatments for many other medicinal fields, including leading drugs for rare disorders. AstraZeneca is also a leading manufacturer of vaccinations and treatments for Covid-19.


10. Shanghai Pharmaceutical

Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd.

Pharma revenue: $32.2 billion

Year of Foundation: 1994
Based in:
Shanghai, China

Known pharma products/brands
: Several pharmaceutical products for different fields on the Chinese market

Shanghai Pharmaceuticals concludes the ranking of the ten biggest pharma companies in the world. The company was formed in 1994 and is based in the world’s largest city for which it is named after. Shanghai Pharmaceuticals is the by far largest pharma company in China, offering various pharmaceutical products for different medicinal fields in the Chinese market and beyond.



Top 10 Biggest Pharma Companies in the World:

1. PFIZER Pharma revenue: $100.3 billion
2. MERCK & CO.Pharma revenue: $59.3 billion
3. ABBVIEPharma revenue: $58.1 billion
4.NOVARTISPharma revenue: $54.4 billion
5.top 10 largest pharma companiesROCHEPharma revenue: $53.6 billion
6.JOHNSON & JOHNSONPharma revenue: $52.6 billion
7.SANOFIPharma revenue: $47.1 billion
8.BRISTOL MYERS SQUIBBPharma revenue: $46.2 billion
9.ASTRAZENECAPharma revenue: $44.4 billion
10.SHANGHAI
PHARMACEUTICALS
Pharma revenue: $34.5 billion
Updated as of January 2024.

Based on the most recent revenue numbers.
Only pharmaceutical sales are counted in this ranking of the ten biggest pharma companies ranking. Pharmaceutical distributors and pharmacies are not included in the ranking. Sales in other branches of business a pharma company may be involved in are also disregarded here. Source: Dun&Bradstreet and the annual reports of the respective pharma companies.


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