Global Pharmaceuticals: 2017 industry statistics

11 Apr 2018 / Corporate research

During the last few weeks, most of the multi-national pharmaceutical companies have reported results for 2017, which has provided us with the opportunity to update our industry statistics and drug database. This report provides the first publication of global and US rankings of the top 15 drug companies for 2017. Comparisons are made with historic data to show how different company strategies have evolved. In addition, analysis has been provided for the evolution of therapeutic biopharmaceutical drugs, which saw sales rise 7% to $197bn, representing 24% of the market, and driven by growth in antibody-derived drugs.

  • Global market:  Hardman & Co estimates that the worldwide prescription drug market had underlying growth of only 1.2% in 2017 to $825bn, up from $814bn in 2016. This contrasts with the 3% growth figure that has appeared in the annual reports of several drug companies.
  • US market:  The US market was an important driver of growth, rising 1.8% to $325bn in 2017, from $319bn in 2016, representing 39.5% of the global market. The FDA approved a record number of new drugs in 2017, with 46 approvals, backing up the Commissioner’s stated goal to improve the agency’s efficiency.
  • Biopharmaceuticals:  The spend on drugs classified as biopharmaceuticals grew 7% to $197bn in 2017; these drugs now represent ca.24% of the entire market. Within this category, drugs using antibody technology grew 16.6% to ca.$100bn.
  • Best-selling drugs:  Humira (AbbVie) remains the biggest drug, with ex-factory sales of $18.4bn (+14.6%). The top 10 drugs in the world represent 9.5% of the entire market. On a cumulative basis, there are now six drugs in the $100bn club.
  • R&D investment:  The top 15 drug companies re-invested 20.3% of sales back into new drug development, spending $86.6bn out of the total spend of $117bn by the 40 largest companies. The average R&D spend was $5.7bn, ranging from $9.2bn (Roche) to $3.3bn (Gilead).
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