Visualizing the World's Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies
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Visualizing the World’s Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies

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Bubble map of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world

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Who are the World’s Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies?

Some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies have played a central role in the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, it’s likely no surprise that the pandemic has also been great for many healthcare businesses. In fact, in 2020 alone, the world’s 50 largest pharmaceutical companies still combined for a whopping $851 billion in revenues.

In this graphic, using data from Companies Market Cap, we list the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world by market capitalization. It’s worth noting this list also includes healthcare companies that work closely with pharmaceuticals, including biotech, pharmaceutical retailers, clinical laboratories, etc.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this graphic was missing some key companies such as GSK and AbbVie. They were unfortunately not included in the original source and we are now working to make sure there were no other smaller omissions. Thanks to all that sent in corrections.

The Pharmaceutical Leaders

To start, here are the top five biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world at the moment by market capitalization:

1. Johnson & Johnson

The pharmaceutical and consumer goods giant is worth $428.7 billion in market cap. They developed the third vaccine authorized for use in the U.S. and were named among the TIME100 Most Influential Companies List in 2021.

2. Roche

The Swiss pharmaceutical giant is at the forefront of oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology, and neuroscience. In 2019, Roche’s pharma segment sales rose by a healthy 16% to $53 billion.

3. Pfizer

Despite being the leading COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer in North America, Pfizer slid in the rankings to third place. The company has recently gained momentum, especially in the past quarter, with Q2’2021 revenues of $19.0 billion, reflecting a 86% operational growth from 2020.

4. Eli Lilly

Eli Lilly has taken a significant step towards establishing itself as a pharmaceutical industry leader. Having a market cap value of $125 billion in 2019, Eli Lilly has jumped to a current value of $214.9 billion, a significant growth of 72%.

5. Novartis

The second-biggest pharmaceutical company out of Switzerland, Novartis has been the face of the pharma industry for about 25 years. The primary manufacturer for the most recognizable drugs on the market pulled in a revenue of over $48 billion in 2020, a 3% increase compared to 2019.

Here’s how all the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world stack up against each other:

Company Rank Company NameMarket Cap ValueCountry
1Johnson & Johnson
JNJ
$428.66 B🇺🇸 USA
2Roche
RHHBY
$320.41 B🇨🇭 Switzerland
3Pfizer
PFE
$219.39 B🇺🇸 USA
4Eli Lilly
LLY
$208.99 B🇺🇸 USA
5Novartis
NVS
$207.70 B🇨🇭 Switzerland
6AbbVie
ABBV
$202.60 B🇺🇸 USA
7Merck
MRK
$191.67 B🇺🇸 USA
8Novo Nordisk
NVO
$187.83 B🇩🇰 Denmark
9Astrazeneca
AZN
$152.28 B🇬🇧 UK
10Bristol-Myers Squibb
BMY
$145.80 B🇺🇸 USA
11Amgen
AMGN
$136.50 B🇺🇸 USA
12Sanofi
SNY
$130.37 B🇫🇷 France
13CVS Health
CVS
$110.49 B🇺🇸 USA
14GlaxoSmithKline
GSK
$104.30 B🇬🇧 UK
15CSL
CSL.AX
$103.10 B🇦🇺 Australia
16Gilead Sciences
GILD
$83.62 B🇺🇸 USA
17Moderna
MRNA
$83.25 B🇺🇸 USA
18Merck KGaA
MRK.DE
$80.61 B🇩🇪 Germany
19Bayer
BAYZF
$59.43 B🇩🇪 Germany
20Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine
600276.SS
$58.51 B🇨🇳 China
21Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
REGN
$55.83 B🇺🇸 USA
22Biogen
BIIB
$55.00 B🇺🇸 USA
23BioNTech
BNTX
$54.23 B🇩🇪 Germany
24Takeda Pharmaceutical
TAK
$52.67 B🇯🇵 Japan
25Lonza
LONN.SW
$52.16 B🇨🇭 Switzerland
26Walgreens Boots Alliance
WBA
$45.05 B🇺🇸 USA
27Celltrion
068270.KS
$33.80 B🇰🇷 S. Korea
28Astellas Pharma
ALPMF
$33.42 B🇯🇵 Japan
29BeiGene
BGNE
$31.65 B🇨🇳 China
30Eisai
4523.T
$31.20 B🇯🇵 Japan
31West Pharma
WST
$26.59 B🇺🇸 USA
32Hansoh Pharma
3692.HK
$26.00 B🇨🇳 China
33LabCorp
LH
$25.97 B🇺🇸 USA
34Otsuka Holdings
4578.T
$23.15 B🇯🇵 Japan
35Horizon Therapeutics
HZNP
$21.13 B🇮🇪 Ireland
36Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
ALNY
$20.42 B🇺🇸 USA
37kyowa Kirin
4151.T
$18.85 B🇯🇵 Japan
38Catalent
CTLT
$18.74 B🇺🇸 USA
39Sino Biopharmaceutical
1177.HK
$18.48 B🇭🇰 Hong Kong
40Bio-Techne
TECH
$17.25 B🇺🇸 USA
41PPD
PPD
$16.26 B🇺🇸 USA
42Argenx
ARGX
$16.03 B🇳🇱 Netherlands
43Shionogi
4507.T
$15.29 B🇯🇵 Japan
44Dr. Reddy's
RDY
$11.88 B🇮🇳 India
45Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
TEVA
$11.21 B🇮🇱 Israel
46Ono Pharmaceutical
4528.T
$11.12 B🇯🇵 Japan
47ICON plc
ICLR
$11.09 B🇮🇪 Ireland
48Bausch Health
BHC
$10.47 B🇨🇦 Canada
49CRISPR Therapeutics
CRSP
$10.42 B🇨🇭 Switzerland
50Curevac
CVAC
$10.33 B🇩🇪 Germany
51Hualan Biological Engineering
002007.SZ
$10.31 B🇨🇳 China
52Vifor Pharma
VIFN.SW
$9.49 B🇨🇭 Switzerland
53Neurocrine Biosciences
NBIX
$9.45 B🇺🇸 USA
54Sinopharm
1099.HK
$9.42 B🇨🇳 China
55BridgeBio Pharma
BBIO
$8.89 B🇺🇸 USA
56Cadila Healthcare
CADILAHC.NS
$8.59 B🇮🇳 India
57Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma
4506.T
$8.16 B🇯🇵 Japan
58Tilray
TLRY
$7.89 B🇨🇦 Canada
59Ascendis Pharma
ASND
$7.51 B🇩🇰 Denmark
60Evotec
EVT.F
$7.19 B🇩🇪 Germany
61Lupin Limited
LUPIN.NS
$7.04 B🇮🇳 India
62Gland Pharma
GLAND.NS
$7.01 B🇮🇳 India
63Exelixis
EXEL
$6.95 B🇺🇸 USA
64GW Pharmaceuticals
GWPH
$6.81 B🇬🇧 UK
65KOBAYASHI Pharmaceutical
4967.T
$6.78 B🇯🇵 Japan
66Torrent Pharmaceuticals
TORNTPHARM.NS
$6.61 B🇮🇳 India
67Biocon
BIOCON.NS
$6.43 B🇮🇳 India
68PeptiDream
4587.T
$6.32 B🇯🇵 Japan
69Sarepta Therapeutics
SRPT
$6.25 B🇺🇸 USA
70Perrigo
PRGO
$6.21 B🇮🇪 Ireland
71Orion Corporation
ORNAV.HE
$6.11 B🇫🇮 Finland
72Lundbeck
LDB.F
$6.04 B🇩🇰 Denmark
73AbCellera
ABCL
$5.87 B🇨🇦 Canada
74Adaptive Biotechnologies
ADPT
$5.69 B🇺🇸 USA
75Intellia Therapeutics
NTLA
$5.62 B🇺🇸 USA
76Santen Pharmaceutical
4536.T
$5.49 B🇯🇵 Japan
77Nippon Shinyaku
4516.T
$5.46 B🇯🇵 Japan
78Beam Therapeutics
BEAM
$5.43 B🇺🇸 USA
79Reata Pharmaceuticals
RETA
$5.15 B🇺🇸 USA
80Swedish Orphan Biovitrum
SOBI.ST
$5.13 B🇸🇪 Sweden
81BB Biotech
BION.SW
$5.08 B🇨🇭 Switzerland
82Alkem Laboratories
ALKEM.NS
$5.00 B🇮🇳 India
83Abbott India
ABBOTINDIA.NS
$4.69 B🇮🇳 India
84Laurus Labs
LAURUSLABS.NS
$4.44 B🇮🇳 India
85Taisho Pharmaceutical
4581.T
$4.39 B🇯🇵 Japan
86Hanmi Pharmaceutical
008930.KS
$4.22 B🇰🇷 S. Korea
87Alkermes
ALKS
$3.87 B🇮🇪 Ireland
88Karuna Therapeutics
KRTX
$3.71 B🇺🇸 USA
89Shinpoong Pharm
019170.KS
$3.65 B🇰🇷 S. Korea
90NantKwest
NK
$3.55 B🇺🇸 USA
91Ipca Laboratories
IPCALAB.NS
$3.41 B🇮🇳 India
92Nektar Therapeutics
NKTR
$3.02 B🇺🇸 USA
93BioCryst Pharmaceuticals
BCRX
$3.01 B🇺🇸 USA
94Vericel
VCEL
$2.96 B🇺🇸 USA
95Dicerna Pharmaceuticals
DRNA
$2.84 B🇺🇸 USA
96Rocket Pharmaceuticals
RCKT
$2.74 B🇺🇸 USA
97Axsome Therapeutics
AXSM
$2.65 B🇺🇸 USA
98Natco Pharma
NATCOPHARM.NS
$2.63 B🇮🇳 India
99Alembic Pharmaceuticals
APLLTD.NS
$2.59 B🇮🇳 India
100Editas Medicine
EDIT
$2.54 B🇺🇸 USA

World’s Largest Pharmaceutical Exporters and Importers

According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), these countries exported the most number of pharmaceuticals in the year 2019:

RankCountryExport Value (US$B)
1🇩🇪 Germany$91.4
2🇨🇭 Switzerland$84.8
3🇺🇸 U.S.$55.7
4🇧🇪 Belgium$55.7
5🇮🇪 Ireland$55.4

In contrast, here are the biggest importers over the same period.

RankCountryImport Value (US$B)
1🇺🇸 U.S.$132.4
2🇩🇪 Germany$59.4
3🇧🇪 Belgium$47.3
4🇨🇳 China$35.7
5🇳🇱 Netherlands$33.5

This position is hardly surprising for the U.S., where six of the world’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies are headquartered. The country also captures 45% of the global market.

The Future of Pharmaceutical Companies

If the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that in building a patient-centered future, the pharmaceutical industry plays a key role. It has to constantly find new ways to customize medicines while researching and developing new tools and drugs.

By embracing disruptive technologies like 3D printed drugs, artificial intelligence guided therapies, and preventive medicine while working with regulatory agencies, the pharmaceutical companies will benefit from having a digital revolution.

Furthermore, emerging markets will have a more significant say in the global pharmaceutical market in the coming years. Even though ‘big pharma’ will keep raking in the massive profits they do every year, their reliance on countries like Brazil and India for research and drug production will significantly impact the years to come.

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Misc

Explainer: What to Know About Monkeypox

What is monkeypox, and what risk does it pose to the public? This infographic breaks down the symptoms, transmission, and more.

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Explainer: What to Know About Monkeypox

The COVID-19 pandemic is still fresh in the minds of the people around the world, so it comes as no surprise that recent outbreaks of another virus are grabbing headlines.

Monkeypox outbreaks have now been reported in multiple countries, and it has scientists paying close attention. For everyone else, numerous questions come to the surface:

  • How serious is this virus?
  • How contagious is it?
  • Could monkeypox develop into a new pandemic?

Below, we answer these questions and more.

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a virus in the Orthopoxvirus genus which also includes the variola virus (which causes smallpox) and the cowpox virus. The primary symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes, and a distinctive bumpy rash.

There are two major strains of the virus that pose very different risks:

  • Congo Basin strain: 1 in 10 people infected with this strain have died
  • West African strain: Approximately 1 in 100 people infected with this strain died

At the moment, health authorities in the UK have indicated they’re seeing the milder strain in patients there.

Where did Monkeypox Originate From?

The virus was originally discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in monkeys kept for research purposes (hence the name). Eventually, the virus made the jump to humans more than a decade after its discovery in 1958.

It is widely assumed that vaccination against another similar virus, smallpox, helped keep monkeypox outbreaks from occurring in human populations. Ironically, the successful eradication of smallpox, and eventual winding down of that vaccine program, has opened the door to a new viral threat. There is now a growing population of people who no longer have immunity against the virus.

Now that travel restrictions are lifting in many parts of the world, viruses are now able to hop between nations again. As of the publishing of this article, a handful of cases have now been reported in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and a number of European countries.

On the upside, contact tracing has helped authorities piece together the transmission of the virus. While cases are rare in Europe and North America, it is considered endemic in parts of West Africa. For example, the World Health Organization reports that Nigeria has experienced over 550 reported monkeypox cases from 2017 to today. The current UK outbreak originated from an individual who returned from a trip to Nigeria.

Could Monkeypox become a new pandemic?

Monkeypox, which primarily spreads through animal-to-human interaction, is not known to spread easily between humans. Most individuals infected with monkeypox pass the virus to between zero and one person, so outbreaks typically fizzle out. For this reason, the fact that outbreaks are occurring in several countries simultaneously is concerning for health authorities and organizations that monitor viral transmission. Experts are entertaining the possibility that the virus’ rate of transmission has increased.

Images of people covered in monkeypox lesions are shocking, and people are understandably concerned by this virus, but the good news is that members of the general public have little to fear at this stage.

I think the risk to the general public at this point, from the information we have, is very, very low.
–Tom Inglesby, Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

» For up-to-date information on monkeypox cases, check out Global.Health’s tracking spreadsheet

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Healthcare

Visualizing How COVID-19 Antiviral Pills and Vaccines Work at the Cellular Level

Despite tackling the same disease, vaccines and antiviral pills work differently to combat COVID-19. We visualize how they work in the body.

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Current Strategies to Tackle COVID-19

Since the pandemic started in 2020, a number of therapies have been developed to combat COVID-19.

The leading options for preventing infection include social distancing, mask-wearing, and vaccination. They are still recommended during the upsurge of the coronavirus’s latest mutation, the Omicron variant.

But in December 2021, The United States Food and Drug Administration (USDA) granted Emergency Use Authorization to two experimental pills for the treatment of new COVID-19 cases.

These medications, one made by Pfizer and the other by Merck & Co., hope to contribute to the fight against the coronavirus and its variants. Alongside vaccinations, they may help to curb extreme cases of COVID-19 by reducing the need for hospitalization.

Despite tackling the same disease, vaccines and pills work differently:

VaccinesPills
Taken by injectionTaken by mouth
Used for prevention Used for treatment only
Create an enhanced immune system by stimulating antibody productionDisrupt the assembly of new viral particles

How a Vaccine Helps Prevent COVID-19

The main purpose of a vaccine is to prewarn the body of a potential COVID-19 infection by creating antibodies that target and destroy the coronavirus.

In order to do this, the immune system needs an antigen.

It’s difficult to do this risk-free since all antigens exist directly on a virus. Luckily, vaccines safely expose antigens to our immune systems without the dangerous parts of the virus.

In the case of COVID-19, the coronavirus’s antigen is the spike protein that covers its outer surface. Vaccines inject antigen-building instructions* and use our own cellular machinery to build the coronavirus antigen from scratch.

When exposed to the spike protein, the immune system begins to assemble antigen-specific antibodies. These antibodies wait for the opportunity to attack the real spike protein when a coronavirus enters the body. Since antibodies decrease over time, booster immunizations help to maintain a strong line of defense.

*While different vaccine technologies exist, they all do a similar thing: introduce an antigen and build a stronger immune system.

How COVID Antiviral Pills Work

Antiviral pills, unlike vaccines, are not a preventative strategy. Instead, they treat an infected individual experiencing symptoms from the virus.

Two drugs are now entering the market. Merck & Co.’s Lagevrio®, composed of one molecule, and Pfizer’s Paxlovid®, composed of two.

These medications disrupt specific processes in the viral assembly line to choke the virus’s ability to replicate.

The Mechanism of Molnupiravir

RNA-dependent RNA Polymerase (RdRp) is a cellular component that works similar to a photocopying machine for the virus’s genetic instructions. An infected host cell is forced to produce RdRp, which starts generating more copies of the virus’s RNA.

Molnupiravir, developed by Merck & Co., is a polymerase inhibitor. It inserts itself into the viral instructions that RdRp is copying, jumbling the contents. The RdRp then produces junk.

The Mechanism of Nirmatrelvir + Ritonavir

A replicating virus makes proteins necessary for its survival in a large, clumped mass called a polyprotein. A cellular component called a protease cuts a virus’s polyprotein into smaller, workable pieces.

Pfizer’s antiviral medication is a protease inhibitor made of two pills:

  1. The first pill, nirmatrelvir, stops protease from cutting viral products into smaller pieces.
  2. The second pill, ritonavir, protects nirmatrelvir from destruction by the body and allows it to keep working.

With a faulty polymerase or a large, unusable polyprotein, antiviral medications make it difficult for the coronavirus to replicate. If treated early enough, they can lessen the virus’s impact on the body.

The Future of COVID Antiviral Pills and Medications

Antiviral medications seem to have a bright future ahead of them.

COVID-19 antivirals are based on early research done on coronaviruses from the 2002-04 SARS-CoV and the 2012 MERS-CoV outbreaks. Current breakthroughs in this technology may pave the way for better pharmaceuticals in the future.

One half of Pfizer’s medication, ritonavir, currently treats many other viruses including HIV/AIDS.

Gilead Science is currently developing oral derivatives of remdesivir, another polymerase inhibitor currently only offered to inpatients in the United States.

More coronavirus antivirals are currently in the pipeline, offering a glimpse of control on the looming presence of COVID-19.

Author’s Note: The medical information in this article is an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please talk to your doctor before undergoing any treatment for COVID-19. If you become sick and believe you may have symptoms of COVID-19, please follow the CDC guidelines.

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