Pill By Pill: The 10 Largest Pharmaceutical Companies

Health has always been a major concern, and access to modern medicine is considered one of the basic needs, in most countries, rights, of people. Our ability to take care of health problems has gotten a lot better, but there are of course some diseases that continue to be a thorn in humanity’s side. To manage and defeat disease, pharmaceutical companies have been discovering new drugs and marketing those products worldwide for use in medical treatment. Pharmaceutical companies play a very important role not only in the medical industry, but also as a significant part of the economy and overall development of the nation.

The revenue these companies generate is by no means small. With a population topping seven billion people, and with more and more of those people entering the middle class, pharmaceuticals are discovering huge, untapped markets for the products they create. IMS Health reports that global pharmaceutical sales are set to reach around $1.1 trillion this year.

Like food, medicine will always be needed. As the worldwide health care system focuses on primary health care, and the prevention and eradication of diseases, pharmaceutical companies are set to benefit, and an aging global population will only sweeten the deal.

While these companies are not recession-proof, they have a good deal more security than other industries, thanks to their necessity in keeping a society in running shape. An entire economy might be having a rough time, but the business of health stops for no one.

Here are the 10 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

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10 Abbvie- 2013 Market Cap: $64.58 Billion

On October 29, 2011, Abbott Laboratories announced it would be separating itself into halves; one specializing in medical products and the other in the research based pharmaceuticals. The latter, Abbvie, has been one of the leading producers of nutritional and animal healthcare products, medicinal devices, and several drugs. Humira, an arthritis medication, is the leading blocker drug produced by this company.

This company is also one of the top companies dealing with immunoassays and blood screening in the world. That work includes several diagnoses of HIV, cancer, metabolic disorder, and blood analysis. Listed on the New York Stock market only in 2013, this company capped $64.584 billion the same year.

9 Bristol- Myers Squibb- 2013 Market Cap: $67.65 billion

Founded in 1889 through the merger of Bristol- Myers and the Squibb Corporation, Bristol- Myers Squibb, also known as BMS, manufactures prescription pharmaceutical products related to several therapeutic areas, including diabetes, hepatitis, psychiatric disorders, cancer and HIV/AIDS. 'Discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases' has been the main mission of this pharmaceutical company. With total revenue of over $18.8 billion, the company had a market cap of $67.657 billion in 2013.

8 Bayer- 2013 Market Cap: $87.52 billion

Bayer is a German chemical and pharmaceutical company founded in 1863 and headquartered in Leverkusen, Germany. The original maker of Aspirin, it is widely known that Bayer marketed heroin in 1895. The end of World War I saw its assets, name, and trademark confiscated by several countries, including America and Canada.

Bayer has been behind the manufacture of some of the most commercially successful drugsever, including Aspirin, Prontosil, Levitra, Suramin, and several insecticides and pesticides. The company also bought the first hormone pregnancy medical item, called Primodos. As of 2013, Bayer Healthcare Company was worth a total of $87.527 billion.

7 GlaxoSmithKline- 2013 Market Cap: $112.51 billion

UK-based multinational company GlaxoSmithKline PLC was created through the merger of GlaxoWellcome PLC and SmithKline Beechnam PLC in 2000. deals in several fields of pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and consumer health care.

A leading manufacturer of products like Horlicks, Boost, and Sensodyne, this company has contributed a great deal to the areas of mental health, asthma, cancer, and virus control.It is also the fifth-largest company listed on the London Stock Exchange, and is on a secondary listing of the New York Stock Exchange. In 2013, the total market cap of this pharmaceutical company was $112.511 billion.

6 Merck & Co. - 2013 Market Cap: $141.92 billion

American pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. was established in 1891 as a subsidiary of Merck KGaA and is headquartered in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. After getting confiscated by the US government in World War I, the company eventually became independent and established itself as one of the world's top pharmaceutical companies. Merck is also a leading publisher of medical textbooks.

Popular drugs manufactured by this company include Isentress, Cordaptive, and Vioxx. Merck was awarded with the distinction of 'Facility of the year' in 2021, winning for its Vaccine Bulk Manufacturing Facility (VBF) program. With total revenue of $48.047 billion, this company is worth a whopping $141.922 billion as of 2013.

5 Sanofi- 2013 Market Cap: $148.38 billion

A French multinational pharmaceutical company with its headquarters in Paris, Sanofi-Aventis is involved in the research, development, and production of many pharmaceutical products, primarily with the prescription market. Drugs related to several areas of oncology, cardiology, and virology are manufactured, with Lovenox being one of its leading drugs, along with Jevtana, the Humenza H1N1 vaccine, Aflibercept, Otamixaban.

The company announced its $125 million investment in the Warp Drive Bio to support cancer research program in 2012. In 2013, Sanofi had a total market cap of $148.381 billion.

4 Roche- 2013 Market Cap: $166.47 billion

A Swiss global healthcare company founded in 1896 by Fritz Hoffmann, La Roche is a worldwide operating company which has two divisions- pharmaceuticals and diagnostic. A full member of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), Roche has its main headquarters in Basel, Switzerland.

It was the very first company to produce synthetic Vitamin C, manufactured under the name Redoxon. Herceptin is one of the leading drugs for breast cancer produced by this company. It also produces several Diabetes management products, as well as drugs like Herceptin, Cellcept, and Bactrium. Roche had a total market cap of $173.4 billion in 2013.

3 Novartis- 2013 Market Cap: $173.4 billion

Novartis is a Basel, Switzerland-based multinational pharmaceutical company that has been involved in the manufacture of vaccines, veterinary medicines, contact lenses, and over-the-counter drugs. Diovan is the highest selling drug manufactured by this company. The like several other companies on this list, it was formed from the merger of two other companies, coming into existences after Ciba-Geigy merged with Sandoz in 1996.

Novartis is also known for its investments in agrochemicals and GMO crops, and runs a worldwide agrochemical business. With a total revenue of $58.566 billion, total assets of $.117.496 billion, operating income of $10.998 billion and net income of $9.245 billion, the 2013 market cap of Novartis was $173.4 billion, making it the biggest pharmaceutical company in Europe.

2 Pfizer, Inc. -2013 Market Cap: $203.71 billion

American multinational pharmaceutical Pfizer, Inc. has its headquarters in New York and its research headquarters in Groton, Connecticut. Pfizer has been known to produce medicines and vaccines for a wide range of purposes, including several areas of immunology and inflammation, neuroscience, pain, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and oncology.

Founded in 1949 by cousins Charles Pfizer and Charles Erhart, this company once pleaded guilty for illegal marketing of the arthritis drug Bextra, for which the company had to pay $1.3 billion. The company had total revenue of $58.98 billion in 2012 with the net income of $14.57 billion and operating income of $12.08 billion. Pfizer had a total market cap of $203.717 billion as of 2013.

1 Johnson & Johnson – 2013 Market Cap: $248.39 billion

U.S multinational medical devices, consumer packaged goods, and pharmaceutical manufacturer Johnson & Johnson was founded in 1886, and is headquartered in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Regarded as one of the most-respected companies in the world, Johnson & Johnson's brand includes several first aid supplies, bandages, skin and beauty products, contact lenses, and Tylenol.

The total revenue of this company in 2012 was $65.030 billion. It had operating income of $12.361 billion, and net income of $9.672 billion. Johnson & Johnson has won a number of awards and recognition for several social works that it has done in the field of health care. The 2013 market cap of Johnson & Johnson was $248.393 billion.

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