2022 Pharma Statistics

06 Apr 2023 / Insight

By Dr Martin Hall

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8.7% growth – but worrying signs

An efficient reporting system has seen all the listed multinational pharmaceutical companies announcing results for 2022, which has given us the opportunity to update our industry statistics and drug database. This report provides the first snapshot of the global and US rankings of the top 20 drug companies for 2022. 2022 was characterised by 8.7% underlying growth, offset by a large forex impact (-12%), due to USD strength. Much of the growth was driven by antibody-derived drugs and vaccines for treatment and prevention of COVID-19. A worrying sign was the unusually large number of drugs that saw sales decline in the past year.

  • Global market: Hardman & Co estimates that the underlying global prescription drug (Rx) market grew 8.7% in 2022, to $1,056bn, from $1,059bn in 2021. Underlying growth, excluding COVID-19 vaccines and therapies, was 6.4%, which is consistent with figures given in the annual reports of some drug companies.
  • US market: Growth in the US market was well below historical levels, rising just 5.0%, to $443bn, from $422bn in 2021, representing 42% of the global market. However, much of this was due to COVID-19 products. Excluding these, US market growth was only 3.4%, not helped by only 37 (down from 50 in 2021) new chemical entities (NCEs) and biologics being approved by the FDA.
  • Oncology: Drugs to treat cancer are perceived as an important growth driver. However, our preliminary analysis shows a disappointing rate of sales growth, at 0.7%, to $185bn, in 2022. The patient population, efficacy, slow approval rate, loss of patent protection and negative forex are all contributory factors.
  • Best-selling drugs: COVID-19 vaccination and treatment programmes continued to have a major effect on the numbers. Comirnaty (Pfizer) was the best-selling product in 2022, with sales of $37.8bn ($36.8bn). Humira (AbbVie) was the biggest drug, with sales of $21.2bn (+2.6%, vs. $20.7bn). The top 10 drugs had global sales of $167.9bn in 2022, representing 15.9% of the entire market.
  • R&D investment: The top 20 drug companies by sales reinvested 19.2% of Rx drug sales into new drug development, spending $138bn out of the total spend of $161bn by the 41 largest companies. The average R&D spend was $6.9bn, ranging from $12.9bn (Roche) to $2.5bn (Vertex).